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Drone Mapping in Hetauda; Path towards Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Cities

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Institute of Himalayan risk reduction in collaboration with Hetuada Sub-Metropolitan City, Nepal Flying Labs and Engineering Association Nepal, Bagmati conducted a drone mapping survey in Hetuada, Makwanpur district during this lockdown. Institute of Himalayan risk reduction aims to assess and understand the risk to contribute for the sustainability.

IHRR has published its voluntary commitment on Sendai Framework. This commitment aims to use drones, geospatial and other frontier technologies for enhancing disaster risk assessments and development planning, thus contributing to sustainability. To reach the goal of this commitment, IHRR is conducting an Aerial Survey using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in one of the rapidly urbanizing cities of Nepal, Hetauda Sub-Metropolitan City in the capital of Bagmati Province - Nepal. This survey aims to capture high-resolution images of the city and develop the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) to carry out a number of risk assessments of the city. This will involve local volunteers and engage them with the application of Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI) initiatives to implement the Sendai Framework.

The technical team first laid out accurate Ground Control Points (GCPs) all over the Metropolitan city and started collecting aerial imageries. DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone was used for the overall data collection purpose. We have installed about 45 GCP at different locations of the Hetuada city. The team flew drones for 26 days over 120 km² area capturing 16244 Images using a single Phantom.

Nepal has low resolution satellite imagery, it is rarely of sufficient quality to support responders in critical decision making after disasters and to Plan a city. This project intent to provide the blueprints on developing sustainable and well-planned cities along with Disaster Risk Reduction. Aerial images taken by drones greatly accelerate and simplify topographic surveys for land management and planning. This holds true for construction of roads, buildings and Public utilities. Data collection by drones is easily repeatable at low cost, images can be taken at regular intervals and overlaid on the original blueprints to assess whether the construction work is moving according to plan specifications.

 Hetauda Sub-metropolitan had prioritized the use of frontier technology, like drones, to generate high-resolution maps. The obtained maps will also help in drafting the urban planning, resource, and capacity mapping, house numbering system, updating the base map of Hetauda Sub-Metropolitan, and so on. This data can also help to predict landslides and prevent potential damage to roads, construction and bridges.

Nepal is lagging far behind the technology and innovation. This is our small steps towards creating smart cities and communities along side with Nepal Government. Thousands of peoples are directly or indirectly benefitted from this project.