Flying robots may be a staple of science fiction, but they're here now and they're increasingly useful. The Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators or “digital humanitarians”) was founded to put them to work. Its mission is to promote the safe, coordinated and effective use of UAVs for data collection, payload delivery and communication services in a wide range of humanitarian and development settings.
(What are farmers, cinematographers and humanitarians looking for in a drone? Mostly it’s about precision flying and agility, nimbleness and stability in the air.)
Drones In Crisis put it all into perspective. Drones can fly at a level where no other camera could potentially reach - and they can capture location-based data in 3D. To understand a crisis, emergency aid turns to the first responders in local communities - not the UN and not the Red Cross, they come later - and drone robotics can help gather the three-dimensional data maps these local communities need to act quickly and effectively.
Kathmandu’s “flying lab” is a prime example, where local pilots were trained in some of the areas worst-affected by the earthquake in Nepal. High quality cameras attached to drones led to the highest-resolution map ever produced for Panga.
Printing maps on rollable banners further allows the community to add their own knowledge, providing a rich social layer of context to the hard data on offer. For example, highlighting areas such as public businesses, schools and temples. This crowdsourced crisis map approach further informs the strategies of the local crisis management teams during rebuilding efforts. The whole community essentially works from a single data source, increasing accuracy and optimising recovering efforts.