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Human Side(s) Of UAVs – Minefields Re-Markation In Bosnia&Herzegovina

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

After the severe floods that hit the Balkan region earlier this year (in particular Bosnia&Herzegovina and Serbia) it went unnoticed in world media that another terrible danger just pop up in its full effect. Mines. Unfortunately, extensive floods did something really scary, beside the fact they are terrifying enough. Shockingly, previously marked mine fields were no longer on the same place. The main contributor is floods, displacing thousands of land mines (which were setted up during the `90s conflicts) and endangering hundreds of thousands.

As a first response in the story came up Haris Balta. Mr Balta works within ICARUS projects which is funded by EU Commission. On explicit Government’s request his team and he, were deployed in order to assist and help. Anyway, he was using modern piece of technique – rotary-wing UAV (Microdrone MD4-1000) and logged approximately 20 flights (both manual and autonomous) at more than a dozen locations.

The profound aim of those flights was to capture imagery that could be used to identify displaced land mines and further to analyze the possible effects of landslides on other explosive devices left after the `90s wars. It has been found that some of the mine(fields) has been moved away for unthinkable 23 km. Mr Balta and his team created 3D maps and used geo-statistical modeling to try to determine in which direction land mines may have been further displaced. However, the shots made also provided valuable updated information on dyke-breaches and other types of infrastructure damage. The second aim was to asses terrain distortions after the landslides appeared.

However, I strongly believe that following video should help you to understand the exact purpose of Mr Balta’s engagement:

According to RoboticsToday, “Serving as an invaluable tool, the UAV has significantly accelerated the relief activities“. It goes without saying that this kind of humanitarian efforts facilitate life of thousands of affected civilians in endangered areas and therefore Mr Balta’s deployment should be strongly praised and rewarded.

But, the story about displaced minefields does not end up here (fortunately). These days Barcelona based company CATUAV, announced that it is going to deploy (once again) team in Bosnia&Herzegovina in order to get even more precise coordinates of the displaced mine fields. Team consists of three persons and one UAV equipped with tools for „land-mine remote sensing“. This is not the first time CATUAV is present in Bosnia&Herzegovina for the same purpose. Previous operations were conducted in the municipality of Hadzici few years back, in an area that still contains a high density of mines buried during the war that affected the country between 1992 and 1995. In coordination with the BHMAC (Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre) CATUAV generated high-resolution images in different spectral bands. The application of UAV technology to assist demining is part of the SAFEDEM project led by Radiolabs consortium.

catuav

We are looking forward the first news and updates on CATUAV’s on-going operations in Bosnia&Herzegovina. Stay tuned.

Videos and images courtesy of iRevolution.net, roboticstoday.com and CATUAV.

Human Side(s) of UAVs – Mr. Patrick Meier exclusive for dronologista

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

It is with genuine pleasure to share exclusive short interview with a pioneer in „digital humanitarian efforts“ (as praised by Mr. Clinton). For those not familiar with this super-visionary person, he is the one that launched UAViators and then iRevolutionMr. Patrick Meier himself. Whoever is interested at least a bit in humanitarian work and UAVs at the same time, should definitely pay a visit to those hubs of UAVs news and updates.

Mr. Patrick Meier

Mr. Patrick Meier

DM: How did you come up with idea of organizing online community for collecting samples of humanitarian use of UAV’s?

Mr. Meier: I was in the Philippines working with UN/OCHA shortly after Typhoon Haiyan and was struck by the number of different UAV projects that we’re going in. This was truly unprecedented. I was also concerned that none of the teams running these UAV projects had any idea about each other. This not only presents issue vis-a-vis operational safety and inefficient use of resources. I also noticed that most UAV projects did not share their imagery with local communities, nor did they engage local communities in any meaningful way. So I knew it was time to launch this community of practice. I personally have been flying UAVs for about 2 years now, and I started precisely because I wanted to explore how they might be used in humanitarian settings. But I didn’t expect to launch the Humanitarian UAV Network as soon as I did. It really was my experience in the Philippines that accelerated my decision to set up UAViators.

DM: What is the exact purpose of UAViators.org?

Mr. Meier: To create a global volunteer network of responsible civilian and hobbyist UAV pilots in order to facilitate information sharing, coordination and operational safety in support of humanitarian efforts. The purpose of this network is to be pro-active in educating new civilians pilots rather than waiting for mistakes to be made. The mission is thus two-fold, facilitating safe operations and establishing standards for the use of UAVs in broad humanitarian contexts.

DM: Do you find room for future extensive exploitations of UAVs, in the respect of humanitarian actions?

Mr. Meier: Yes, I believe it is inevitable that UAVs will become mainstream technologies in the humanitarian space; not only for multi-sensor data collection but also for the transport of small payloads and for providing 3G/4G & wifi services in areas where cell phone towers etc have been destroyed.

DM: Do you have any contact with international organizations, in regards with possible UAVs engagement?

Mr. Meier: Yes, several, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Action (UN OCHA) and the American Red Cross, for example.

DM: Do you find public skeptical when it comes to use UAVs in humanitarian actions?

Mr. Meier: Less and less so. They are more skeptical about law enforcement uses, though, primarily because of understandable worries around data privacy. But Amazon’s foray into the drone space is certainly helping us in the humanitarian space by demonstrating the very real possibilities of UAVs.

DM: Are you personally satisfied with the developments of UAViators.org?

Mr. Meier: Yes, and very surprised that the Network has evolved so quickly with so many different key initiatives like the Crisis Map and Travel/Laws Wiki, for example.

DM: What is the future development plan in regards with UAViators.org? (If not confidential, of course)

Mr. Meier: We have several plans lined up including the launching of a training and certification course on UAVs for humanitarian organizations.

DM: Have you been engaged previously in any sort of humanitarian actions?

Mr. Meier:Yes, I’ve been involved in the humanitarian space in one way or another for about 12 years now.

DM: Beside UAViators.org, is there anything else you could share with us regarding the human side(s) of UAV?

Mr. Meier: Perhaps some of these posts may be of interest: iRevolution.

Hereby I would like to thank Mr. Patrick Meier on his time and willingness to share some more information with me. I am perfectly aware of amount of daily tasks he is facing. However we strongly support the enthusiasm and visionary that Mr Meier promotes in regard of humanitarian deployment of UAVs in the future. Furthermore I am going to update you guys on any news coming from Mr. Meier „kitchen“.
Picture and video property of iRevolution.net