Public Lab Research note

Kaohsiung Gas Explosions 2014 (update)

by muyueh | November 24, 2014 03:09 24 Nov 03:09 | #11396 | #11396

muyueh was awarded the Watchdog Barnstar by Shannon for their work in this research note.

What I want to do

On July 31th 2014, a series of gas explosions occurred in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, following reports of gas leaks earlier that night. 32 people were killed and 308 others were injured, many roads were damaged as a result.

Two days later (August 2nd), a reasearch team from Kaohsiung University sent Quadcopter to take arial shots from the site. A serie of photos was released in CC 3.0 BY license

I wanted to understand all these photos with context, so I tried MapKnitter.

My attempt and results

The final result used 39 shots within the context. I knew that it was a devastating explosion, but I was quite shocked by the broad range of the map.

The initial challenge I had in using MapKnitter was that I wanted to fit every shots to the map. Fitting images are hard, especially the transformation part. I then go for a Breadth First approach, trying to cover a wide range first, and just picked the photos with as little transformation as possible (since the shots are made by Quadcopter, there are many shots that require zero transformation, and just scalling / rotating).

The other problem I faced was in the output, my output map didn't have the JPEG version, or couldn't be viewed in the Web Viewer, I later solved this issue by changing to a lower than recomended resolution (20 cm/px).

Questions and next steps

There are many videos / shots of the explosions ( and one should be able to map these multi media back to the map, along with the exact location of death (currently not been fully disclosed).


Hi Muyueh, i am so sorry to hear about this tragedy. Your map is incredibly well-made. Now that you have exported it, you can add annotations to the map, to link directly to the multimedia content you listed. You can find me on skype and i'd be happy to work on this together!

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wow. thanks for all of your work.

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This is incredible. I'm so sorry about what happened. You did an excellent job capturing the visual data and brining it to the public's eye.

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Thanks for all your comment. Some firefighters actually died because they were not sure of the cause of the explosions, I would like to think that if we can integrate all these different data, we can actually save lives.

Thank you Liz on the tip with annotation, and for introducing MapKnitter to me in the first place. I will get back to you with more questions.

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