Drones proving useful to Pacific disaster management

This post originally appeared on http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/300170/drones-proving-useful-to-pacific-disaster-management.

[Editor’s Note: Drone images helped authorities with decision-making.]

A New Zealand engineer says unique aerial mapping technology used in Fiji after Cyclone Winston, could be hugely beneficial to the wider region in times of disaster.

The technology, offered at no cost to Fiji by Tonkin and Taylor during Winston, helped authorities quickly identify the worst affected areas and determine what aid was urgently needed.

Peter Quilter said the use of bleak aerial photographs in damage assessment was the first instance they knew of in the world.

Mr Quilter said the technology mapped out the details in the photographs and helped authorities to make high-level decisions.

He said it would be enormously useful for the Pacific, which remained vulnerable to natural disasters.

“It’s not only helpful in the humanitarian response phase but in terms of understanding key vulnerabilities that apply throughout the Pacific, it’s going to reap huge, huge benefits down the track.”

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