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News — 27 January, 2014

Support Haiyan/Yolanda Reconstruction: Contribute Public Use UaV (Drone) Imagery

An unprecedented number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) -- drones -- have been used to collect imagery after typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. But little coordination between projects appears to have occurred. Many types of response and recovery organizations can benefit from these "bird's eye" views of the typhoon affected areas.

An unprecedented number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) -- drones -- have been used to collect imagery after typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. But little coordination between projects appears to have occurred. Many types of response and recovery organizations can benefit from these "bird's eye" views of the typhoon affected areas. 
This type of imagery allows analysis such as:
  • Tracking of debris removal
  • Creation of detailed base map information for a wide variety of tracking applications
  • Help in assessments to support timely, safe, and accountable reconstruction
There are also probably uses we haven't even thought about yet.  Providing communities such as OpenStreetMap access has the potential to stimulate significant use and innovation around drone imagery.   For example, a significant aspect of building back better (3B) in Tacloban is not to keep a 40m coastal buffer zone free. How is reconstruction progressing over time.
Advantages of UaV Data
UaV imagery data can provide 5-10 cm pixel and elevation imagery of disaster affected areas.  An example of this for Tacloban just days after the disaster.  This is higher than the best currently available high resolution Satellite Data (about 0.5 m), and provides for rapid, cloud-free and responsive high resolution imagery.  But this data is of little use if it remains fragmented across sources, and is not readily and available for further analysis and deployment.
How to Help?
Do you have imagery flown for Haiyan? Or do you know of imagery and providers that would be valuable to the community?  Are you willing and able to donate a copy of it to the response? Maybe you have wanted to share it but were not sure what to do other than hand it to people that requested it. 
Let us help, upload the data and we will distribute it so others can make use (email for more information). To get things started Corephil DSI has shared about 22 gigabytes of data from downtown Tacloban.  We hope this will be the seeding of an "OpenReconstruction/Open Drone" platform.
Keyword is Open
For the imagery to be most effective it should be open.  Our initial release from Corephil DSI is licensed Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY). This license allows the information to be used by anyone for anything, but they must give credit to the producer of the imagery. You can read more about it on Creative Common's site:
UAV data may come from various sources and follow various standards. The public sector or NGOs may be providing data at the outset with an open use intent.  The private sector or insurance companies may have initially commissioned and used this for commercial purposes, but could now be looking for a broader dissemination use.
Join Us?
Have you already flown imagery and would like to share? Great! Get in touch. Are you planning on flying imagery and want to share? Wonderful! Let's discuss so that we can make sure it is shared as quickly as possible. To contact us about sharing imagery please email: 
Next Steps
As more imagery is revealed, the initiative will seek to ensure sufficient server space for the materials, document standards, and streamline contribution processes.