North-Eastern Space Applications Centre (NE-SAC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to collect land details of areas that have been damaged by natural disasters.
The space agency, which is based in Shillong, conducted the first drone test on 1 November 2016. It will be solely designing and assembling all the UAVS and the data collected from the survey will be added to that of ISRO’s remote sensing satellites.
Pros of the Drone-based study
• Use of drones reduces the physical work of ground surveyors.
• It is especially significant for disaster-prone or physically inaccessible areas.
• Drones can quickly assess the amount of damage caused to an area by disasters such as landslides, floods or earthquakes and enable timely relief measures.
• They have been used to map the area along Meghalaya’s main highway- NH40, which was cut off last year due to landslides triggered by heavy rainfall.
• They were also used to assess the extent of damage caused by pests to paddy fields in Assam’s Naramari village.
• The NE-SAC was also able to create a land use map of Meghalaya’s Nongpoh town and a 3D terrain model using images provided by these unmanned vehicles.
• Usage of drones to collect land details is a new method and hence, only confined to the North-Eastern states. It could be extended to other states of the country depending on the demand.
• The areas assessed by drones are smaller in comparison to those assessed by the satellites from space.
• Another problem with the drone-based study is the storage and processing of a large amount of data provided by these vehicles.
The NE-SAC is a regional space centre that was established in 2000. It was created to provide Space technology-based support to the North East region and promote its overall growth.