Fukushima – a drones eye view

It’s been three years since a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami destroyed large parts of the eastern coast of Japan and incapacitated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Life for many of the displaced families, however, has far from returned to normal; around 150,000 residents of the prefecture are still living as evacuees in temporary accommodations, and many villages are still too contaminated for people to return.

What is the current state of the cleanup and reconstruction effort? Drone Adventures teamed up with Taichi Furuhashi, researcher at the Center for Spatial Information Science at the University of Tokyo, to try to answer this question. Over the course of several days, we mapped three unique towns in Fukushima district: Iidate village, Hisanohama, and Tomioka.

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Mapping the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan

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When Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, struck the South East coast of the country six months ago, on November 8, 2013, it devastated entire communities – tearing apart thousands of homes and destroying livelihoods. Many of those worst hit were ‘informal’ unplanned homes, situated at or near the water’s edge.

One of the humanitarian organisations that stepped up to help was Swiss-based Medair, which is dedicated to relieving human suffering in some of the world’s most remote and badly affected places. However after arriving in the country just 48 hours after Yolanda struck and conducting their initial assessments, the Medair team soon discovered that accurate, up-to-date maps of the region didn’t exist, with communities often having to rely on either hand-drawn maps or outdated Google versions.

This data gap is why Medair asked Drone Adventures to get involved.

  • Create detailed 2D base maps and 3D terrain models of Tacloban, Dulag and Julita municipalities
  • Assess typhoon damage and plan shelter reconstruction

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