Sunday, October 2, 2022

Disaster-mapping drones often ignore the deadliest, most costly incidents and hardest-hit areas

Each year, disasters kill an average of 60,000 people, affect 200 million and cause US$150 billion in damage. To counter these devastating impacts, governments and other stakeholders routinely rely on images captured by satellites and crewed aircraft for critical tasks, such as identifying and monitoring areas most at risk. Evacuation route, damage severity and extent, and recovery progress.

Along with these standard spaceborne and aerial platforms, small aerial drones equipped with cameras are relatively new equipment. Praised for their low cost, easy use and for capturing scenes on-demand, drones can be a game-changing technology for emergency response.

Drones are now routine photojournalistic tools used to capture compelling images and videos of the devastation caused by major events. His fly-through videos are a staple of many news articles covering floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes.

Drone footage of floods in Belgium and Germany.

Drones and Disaster Management

International organizations such as the Red Cross are using drones in their global networks. But a significant knowledge gap exists within and across the humanitarian sphere of standard applications and a lack of standard procedures. This contrasts with the highly standardized use of satellites and crewed aircraft by disaster management organizations.

To help uncover common uses and disparities for disaster-mapping drones around the world, we looked at a variety of research papers. In our new study published in remote sensing of the environmentIn this article, we examined more than 600 scientific case studies of pre- and post-disaster mapping. We identified global trends and gaps in terms of disaster management applications, technology and geography, creating a list of priorities for future research.

Drone use in emergency

Disaster management activities perform four main functions: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

We found that the majority of studies (87 percent) focused on demonstrating drone-based support of mitigation and recovery activities. Commonly supported activities include mitigation-related vulnerability assessment and risk modeling, as well as environmental improvements. Drones were often used to map and monitor the topography and surface features of areas affected and affected by landslides, earthquakes and floods.

We found a relative lack of research related to response, with only 16 studies indicating that data collection occurred during the emergency phase of the actual incident. This contradicts a major selling point of drones as an on-demand information retrieval tool for disaster response.

We attribute this research gap to the real-world challenges of flying drones in emergencies. These factors include adverse weather conditions and the paramount safety of first response aircraft.

deemed disasters

Earthquakes, floods and hurricanes are natural hazard-related disasters that are associated with the most deaths, affected populations, and economic losses. However, we found that only a small percentage of the studies focused on these events: 14 percent (earthquakes), 18 percent (floods) and 12 percent (hurricanes). Landslides and other mass movements received the most research attention (38 percent of the studies).

This is probably related to the small footprint of landslides and mass movements relative to other disaster types, which is well suited to the specific area coverage of drone flights. Relatedly, we found that 76 percent of studies flew drones over small areas (less than one square kilometer) and 70 percent used multirotor drones with less than 30 minutes of endurance.

Low-income and urban areas are neglected

Low-income countries and regions are disproportionately affected by disasters in terms of deaths, people affected and economic losses. We found that most of the studies – 64 percent – ​​were conducted in high-income countries and regions. We suspect this is due to the greater availability of research resources and supportive airspace regulations in high-income areas.

The study also tended to conduct research in rural areas (79 percent), possibly reflecting the challenge of obtaining flight approvals in cities. However, where people and property are concentrated, the impact of disasters will be greater, so the lack of research in urban areas is a concern.

future research priorities

Based on our review of existing research, we propose that future research is directed towards demonstrating drone-based mapping support of neglected disaster management activities. These include applications related to feedback where the advantages of drones are perhaps most striking. In an emergency, locally available drones have the ability to acquire a view over a longer period of time than satellites and crewed aircraft.

We also recommend focusing more on earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to target the deadliest and costliest disaster types. Finally, future studies should be conducted in large, urban and low-income areas to help the places most affected. As research progresses, effective and standard applications of drones to aid in disaster management will emerge.

This article is republished from – The Conversation – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
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