In February 2022, five years after the city of Mocoa, Colombia suffered a devastating landslide, ESI and a broad group of local and international partners launched the project Drones for Equitable Climate Change Adaptation (DECCA) to help prepare the city for future disasters. The DECCA project aims to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) to explore the use of new technologies to provide Mocoa with an effective and robust landslide monitoring system, combined with local stakeholder engagement. A complex drone operation was accompanied by the need to address similarly complex social issues in Mocoa.
From an article by ESI.
Now, a delegation of seven researchers and students has returned from Mocoa after launching their first pilot flight in the field. The delegation—from ESI and project partners Lincoln Laboratories, AirWorks, the Pratt Institute Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment, and CAF Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean—worked hand-in-hand for a week with a team from on-the-ground partner Corpoamazonia, both to test out the UAVs and to reinforce the community relationships needed to realize the project. During their weeklong visit, the DECCA members held a series of workshops to increase local awareness, solicit feedback for a series of communication tools the project will use to keep Mocoa’s citizens informed, and strengthen local technical capacities to take part in landslide risk management.
A complex operation, technologically and socially
Flying drones in the cloud-covered and forested mountains of the Andean-Amazon piedmont is not a trivial challenge. “This has truly been the most impactful project I’ve ever been part of,” said Adam Kersnowski, AirWorks co-founder and Chief Evangelist and DECCA’s lead flight operations expert. “We made great progress in overcoming the technical challenges of flying drones in this extreme terrain, but our journey is far from over.” Kersnowski used his time in Mocoa to help train Corpoamazonia’s pilot and data collection team; over the next few months these pilots will carry out increasingly complicated flight missions. “As this project moves forward, we’ll continue to help the team build their confidence and capabilities in data collection, which is crucial to protecting the people of Mocoa from future landslides.”
For the complete article on this complex drone operation CLICK HERE.
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