Drones are a hot topic these days. Everyone from filmmakers to hobbyists are using the little flying gadgets. But, the new technology isn't just good for having some fun or capturing shots on a film set. It could actually help Nepal recover from the devastating earthquake that rocked the country and took thousands of lives.
There are many ways that drones can help the recovery effort. Namely, they can capture footage from the air to help map damage and survey difficult terrain. They can capture large amounts of high-quality images much quicker than ground surveys.
The country is currently facing a shortage of helicopters that are generally needed to both capture aerial views of the destruction and conduct life saving rescue missions. The use of unmanned drones to survey damage will free up manned helicopters, so they can be used to aid survivors.
Drone pilots are coming from all over the world to help out. Pilots from the U.S, India and Canada are already helping out with the recovery effort. Drone teams are organized by the Humanitarian UAV Network organization and will survey areas designated as high priority spots by the U.N.
The images captured by these drones can then be used to construct detailed 3-D images of the damage that first responders can use to plan rescue missions. Volunteers can also look at the images online to help assess building damage and gather other important details about the destruction.
Drones can also be used to capture video footage to communicate the situation in Nepal to the rest of the world.
While the relief effort can use all the help it can get, "cowboy pilots" can cause a problem. Those are folks that just show up and fly drones without any organization or training. Anyone who wants to help out should contact the Humanitarian UAV Network.