Drone Mapping Saves Lives In Colombia
In April 2017, unusually heavy rains caused floods, and a massive landslide in Mocoa, Putumayo province, Colombia. Over 300 people lost their lives and more than 4000 people were displaced. Canadian RescUAV, Aeryon Labs, and Pix4D teamed up, helping those helped 4000 people return home safely.
The Call For Help
After receiving the call for help from UNGRD, Canadian-based GlobalMedic’s RescUAV team joined forces with Aeryon Labs Inc and headed to Mocoa. GlobalMedic’s RescUAV provides imagery and 3D mapping for search and rescue and situational awareness.
Limited data connectivity added complexity to the operation, which is where Pix4D came in. Brett Simms, RescUAV Team Lead, approached Pix4D’s Paul Spaur for help.
“There is incredible use in generating fast and actionable maps during a disaster response. Incident Command can define areas of interest as .kml files, and disseminate them to multiple field crews. The crews can import their areas into Pix4Dcapture, fly a drone autonomously, and capture data. They can then move the images from the drone to a field laptop, and rely on the fully offline (and secure) processing capability of Pix4Dmapper Pro to make maps that can save lives,” commented Spaur.
Equipped with a generator, two Aeryon SkyRanger UAVs, a laptop, and Pix4Dmapper Pro, the teams was ready to face the challenge.
“Throughout the mission, we relied heavily upon Pix4Dmapper Pro to provide orthomosaics and 3D models of our flight data for UNGRD and the other responding agencies, like Corpoamazonia and IDIGER,” said Brett Simms of RescUAV.
RescUAV, accompanying emergency task forces, was able to map over 200 hectares, capture photo and video data, generating 3D maps in the field. Mapping made it possible to assess terrain conditions on the go. Local authorities used them to inspect critical infrastructure damage and identify high-risk areas for future disasters. They assisted in planning and infrastructure allowing displaced residents to safely return home.