Aerial Mapping Fall '13 - Aerial Mapping Fall '13
senseFly’s eBee provides mapping for non-profit organizations in Haiti
- 3 eBee autonomous drones
- 3 non-profit organizations
- Drone Adventures
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- Humanitarian Open Street Map Team (HOT)
- 7 days
- 25 mapping flights
- Over 45km2 mapped at a resolution between 3 and 9 cm/pixel
After a first successful mission in Haiti, in 2012, with the UNITAR1 using senseFly’s swinglet CAM, the IOM recently teamed up with Drone Adventures for a mission using senseFly’s latest drone, the eBee.
Drone Adventures is a young non-profit organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Their goal is to promote the great potential of drones in civilian applications, focusing on conservation, humanitarian, cultural and search and rescue domains.
Having access to accurate maps can readily be taken for granted nowadays, but unfortunately these maps are not always up-to-date. Think about how the earthquake first, and then hurricane Sandy in October 2012, have changed many landscapes in Haiti. And think about how these landscapes are still changing every day with the evolution of the refugee camps. For example many encampments have been expanding into old riverbeds and are flooded every time rain gets too heavy. Roads and buildings do not appear on maps correctly anymore, making reconstruction and aid distribution uneasy. The need of up-to-date imagery in such a situation is essential.
One of the biggest advantages of working with drones to map an area is that the cost is significantly cut compared to the use of planes or satellites. But there are many other benefits! For example drones can operate in cloudy conditions by flying below the clouds, where satellites could not accomplish their work.
Unlike conventional UAVs and R/C models, the eBee is very easy to fly; thanks to its autopilot and its intuitive user interface it can be managed by almost anyone. Thereby, people from Drone Adventures could easily train local surveyors and geographers to operate the drone.
The eBee can be hand-launched with no extra equipment and only needs minimum space to land (thanks to its ground sensor), allowing the delegation to work on very dense overpopulated areas like shantytowns, or rough riverbeds.
senseFly’s intuitive ground control software eMotion 2 is now capable of controlling and coordinating multiple drones simultaneously, with midair collision avoidance. This allowed the operators to work with two or three drones at the same time, thus considerably reducing overall time spent in the field, while increasing the mapped areas.
As a result ten different sites were mapped for a total of over 45km2, in a week only.
3D terrain models were created to perform water-flow simulations. They will be used to plan infrastructures to prevent flooding and protect dense urban encampments near dangerous riverbeds.
Several shantytowns have been mapped. The main purpose of these maps will be to:
- Count the tents and help organize the census of the population
- Distribute aid
- Develop infrastructure
On top of this, 2D and 3D maps of the University of Limonade situated in the north of the country were also accomplished. These maps will help to promote this brand new university, which should play a significant role in the economic and social development of the country.
senseFly is a Swiss company that develops, produces and commercializes autonomous ultra light flying drones (also called UAVs) and related software solutions. The technology behind senseFly’s solution first emerged in 2001, when a team of robotic researchers at EPFL began investigating the control and navigation strategies of flying insects. This pioneering research enabled the development of a highly integrated autopilot employing smart control strategies similar to those found in flies and bees.
senseFly was founded in late 2009 and launched its first commercial product shortly after. The swinglet CAM is a flying drone for aerial imagery acquisition and mapping. In 2012 senseFly joined the Parrot Group and is since then more than ever pioneering the field of flying drones for mapping and GIS applications. Its latest product, the eBee, was launched in October 2012. The company currently counts about 40 employees.
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1 United Nations Institute for Training and Research
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