Sunday, August 3, 2014

Drones spread wings from war zones to disaster areas

Tony Mohr in While lawmakers around the world struggle to keep up with the growth in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — commonly known as drones — innovation and community participation are changing how this weapon of modern warfare can be used for humanitarian purposes.

At a conference on UAVs in Australia (23-24 July), Patrick Meier, an international consultant in the field of conflict early warning and crisis mapping, noted that these remotely piloted aircrafts are bringing communities together to collect, analyse and use UAV data to prepare for natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes and landslides.

After Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November 2013, UAV projects helped in the relief efforts but they were uncoordinated and the data generated were not shared with affected communities, Meier noted.

To improve coordination in the use of UAVs, Meier co-founded the Humanitarian UAV Network (UAviators) to bridge humanitarian efforts and UAV groups internationally. The network has drafted a code of conduct on the responsible use of UAVs in humanitarian settings. It plans to roll out training and certification courses in the first half of 2015.

...He explains UAVs are now being used to create 2D and 3D maps of disaster-affected areas with more detail and in less time than is possible through satellites. “Aid and assistance can be deployed when and where these are needed because of such mapping,” he tells SciDev.Net....

IAI Heron 1 UAV in flight Location: NAVAL AIR STATION, FALLON, NEVADA (NV) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA). From Department of Defense media

No comments: