Aerial drones are becoming a familiar sight as individuals, businesses, government departments and organisations tap into the technology and benefits they offer.
Wimmera Catchment Management Authority is among this group and has started a ground-breaking trial into the use of drones in Horsham to test the potential of the technology to improve emergency-response planning for floods.
Drones will fly over residential streets along the Wimmera River in a test to see whether they can increase the amount of up-to-date information compared with traditional survey methods. The drones will also capture accurate and detailed topographic data.
Wimmera CMA floodplain management team leader Paul Fennell said the drones could capture accurate three-dimensional detail to a quality never considered possible.
“Drone technology is becoming more and more sophisticated, which opens up a vast range of possibilities in many fields including emergency response,” he said.
“Historically we have used surveyors to capture floor-level information for flood planning which can be laborious, time-consuming and a significant cost. This particular technology records data we can view similar to Google street view, but the key difference is that we can measure the height of all points that we can see.”
Mr Fennell said the CMA was keen to test the accuracy of the drone’s altitude measurement and topography data. “We are looking forward to seeing if this is a more effective way to capture floor-level information along with the topography of a particular area. We will then ascertain if we can use these drones for data that we can easily overlay onto flood maps, which will then help us plan more effectively for future flood events,” he said.
Mr Fennell said the CMA and the firm undertaking the flights had worked with Horsham Rural City Council and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for the trial.
He said anyone seeking information about the trial could call him on 5382 1544.