Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


College of Engineering


Maria Pantoja

Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor College

College of Engineering


The amount of structural damage image data produced in the aftermath of an earthquake can be staggering. It is challenging for a few human volunteers to efficiently filter and tag these images with meaningful damage information. There are several solution to automate post-earthquake reconnaissance image tagging using Machine Learning (ML) solutions to classify each occurrence of damage per building material and structural member type. ML algorithms are data driven; improving with increased training data. Thanks to the vast amount of data available and advances in computer architectures, ML and in particular Deep Learning (DL) has become one of the most popular image classification algorithms producing results comparable to and in some cases superior to human experts. These kind of algorithms need the input images used for the training to be labeled, and even if there is a large amount of images most of them are not labeled and it takes structural engineers a large amount of time to do it. The current data earthquakes image data bases do not contain the label information or is incomplete slowing significantly the advance of a solution and are incredible difficult to search. To be able to train a ML algorithm to classify one of the structural damages it took the architecture school an entire year to gather 200 images of the specific damage. That number is clearly not enough to avoid overfitting so for this thesis we decided to generate synthetic images for the specific structural damage. In particular we attempt to use Generative Adversarial Neural Networks (GANs) to generate the synthetic images and enable the fast classification of rail and road damage caused by earthquakes. Fast classification of rail and road damage can allow for the safety of people and to better prepare the reconnaissance teams that manage recovery tasks. GANs combine classification neural networks with generative neural networks. For this thesis we will be combining a convolutional neural network (CNN) with a generative neural network. By taking a classifier trained in a GAN and modifying it to classify other images the classifier can take advantage of the GAN training without having to find more training data. The classifier trained in this way was able to achieve an 88\% accuracy score when classifying images of structural damage caused by earthquakes.