Tsunami victims are gone, but not forgotten

JAPAN — Struggles to recover from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami are ongoing in the low-lying areas of Japan that were hit hardest in a disaster similar to what would happen here when the Cascadia Subduction Zone ruptures off the coast of Washington and Oregon.

To preserve the memory of six of the coastal communities that were swept away during the tsunami, a recent article in The Asahi Shimbun reports that they are being recreated in a highly detailed 3-D image archive — tinyurl.com/rebuild3D — by a team from two Japanese universities. A sample image is shown.

Using predisaster satellite images and maps, then adding details provided by former residents during a series of workshops, the article says the team is, in effect, creating a “computer-generated world so users can feel like they are actually walking down the streets of the communities.” The archive is expected to go online next year, and hopes to expand to include more areas.

“The fading of shared memories such as scenery and festivals is a grievous loss to a community’s continued existence,” team leader Akinobu Murakami said. “We want this archive to lead to the creation of their next place of residence.”

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