Drones for Humanitarian and Environmental Applications

 

Drones in Humanitarian Action

“Drones in Humanitarian Action” is an in-depth analysis of the role that drones (also known as UAVs or RPASs) can play in humanitarian crises. It is based on two years of research as well as multiple stakeholder consultations.

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News

Independent Report: Drones are Ready for Disasters

Geneva/Brussels, 2 December 2016 – Drones have become functional, user-friendly and cheap enough, to significantly help in humanitarian crises. That is one of the key findings of the research initiative “Drones in Humanitarian Action”, which was presented by the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD), in partnership with CartONG, UAViators and Zoi Environment Network during the EU Humanitarian Aid Annual Partners’ Conference in Brussels today. (more…)

How Drones Can Help in Humanitarian Emergencies

Drones in Humanitarian Action

Click image to download the report

Few technologies have undergone as radical a change as drones. Where five years ago, drones were mainly seen as an instrument of war, today they are far more likely to be flown by a wedding photographer than an airman. Earlier this year, the Consumer Technology Association estimated that globally 9.4 million civilian drones will be sold in 2016.

Increased reliability, ease of use and much lower prices have also made drones a viable technology for humanitarian responders. Rarely a week goes by without a new idea for how drones can revolutionize humanitarian aid: from drones that promise to detonate landmines to edible drones.

However, this hardware centric view often neglects drawing on humanitarian best practice, respecting legal frameworks, or considering ethical aspects of humanitarian innovation.

As part of the EU-ECHO funded research initiative “Drones in Humanitarian Action”, the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD), CartONG, UAViators and the Zoi Environment Network have spent the last two years looking into how drones can have a real impact in humanitarian crises and what humanitarian organizations should consider before using them. (more…)

Event: Drones in Humanitarian Action, Lessons Learned and the Way Forward – Brussels

On 2 December 2016, the report on Drones in Humanitarian Action – A guide to airborne systems in humanitarian crises was launched at the Brussels headquarters of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO).

Following a brief introduction by Daniel Clauss (DG ECHO), presentations followed by Valeria Fabbroni, Denise Soesilo, and Bert Rijk who shared project findings and experiences from the field.

Presentations:
Drones in Humanitarian Action – an Overview by Denise Soesilo, RPAS Project Manager, FSD

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RPAS Mapping for Humanitarian Purposes by Bert Rijk, RPAS Pilot, FSD/Aurea Imaging

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Case Study No. 14: Using drones to create maps and assess building damage in Ecuador

NATURAL DISASTER | MONITORING AND REAL TIME INFORMATION | ASSESSMENT

Type of system: Inspire 1 Pro; SkyRanger
Deploying Agency: GlobalMedic
Piloting Agency: AeroVision Canada, GlobalMedic
Dates of Deployment: April-May 2016
File: Download

A magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Ecuador on 16 April 2016, causing over 660 deaths, thousands of injuries and widespread destruction across the north-west part of the country. The most severe damage was concentrated in the provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas along the northern coastline. In response, the Ecuadorian Army and AeroVison carried out missions every day, using drones to assess the level of damage in cities and towns and producing maps to determine priority areas of intervention to support shelter reconstruction.

Background

After the worst earthquake in 40 years hit Ecuador, a state of emergency was declared in the six coastal provinces. In the especially hard-hit city of Pedernales, in Manabí province, a state of disaster was declared. Rescue operations and the search for survivors began immediately after the earthquake and continued for several days. Thousands of people were left homeless, with homes either damaged or completely destroyed. Experts estimate it will take years for the hardest hit areas to recover and that rebuilding will cost up to €2.6 billion (US $3 billion).[1] (more…)

Case Study No. 13: Using drones to inspect post-earthquake road damage in Ecuador

NATURAL DISASTER | MONITORING AND REAL TIME INFORMATION | ASSESSMENT

Type of system: Phantom 3 Pro, Inspire 1, eBee
Deploying Agency: UAViators
Piloting Agency: UAViators
Dates of Deployment: April 2016
File: Download

In April 2016, a magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck north-west Ecuador, damaging homes, buildings and infrastructure and killing more than 660 people. Thousands of buildings and homes were damaged or destroyed, as well as other infrastructure such as roadways and bridges. The earthquake caused soil to shift, increasing the risk of landslides during the 189 aftershocks that were counted in the two days after the quake.[1] To have a clearer picture of how the land had moved and to assess further risk of landslides, drones were provided to the government to collect data to develop ortho-mosaics and maps that helped geologists and project managers assess risk and make decisions.

Background

After the worst earthquake in 40 years hit Ecuador, a state of emergency was declared in the six coastal provinces – Esmeraldas, Galapagos, Guayas, Los Rios, Manabí and Santo Domingo. Rescue operations and the search for survivors began immediately after the earthquake and continued for several days. Thousands of people were left homeless, and experts estimate it will take years for the hardest hit areas to recover and rebuild. Within a day, numerous humanitarian organizations had begun to respond to the needs on the ground. Among them were volunteer drone pilots (with 10-12 drones among them) who collaborated with government and non-government actors to gain a better understanding of the situation from above and to inform the response.

Local entrepreneur and engineer Francisco Ruiz was one of those volunteer drone pilots. Mr Ruiz worked with and as part of a UAViators roster of pilots alongside local government authorities by flying drones to collect data in the affected areas.

In particular, Mr Ruiz and other volunteers supported aerial surveys for the Ministry of Transport in several areas across Manabí. They were able to analyse and publish data less than three days after the earthquake, providing maps with the most up-to-date information available. Mr Ruiz and his collaborators provided aerial data that was shared on a public geo-portal platform run by OpenAerialMap[2] (affiliated with OpenStreetMap). Because of the speed with which they were able to collect and disseminate the data, these outputs were critical tools for decision makers and other authorities in the days and weeks following the disaster.

(more…)

Drones in Humanitarian Action is partially funded by DG ECHO. This website covers humanitarian aid activities implemented with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of the European Union, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.