Use of Drone during COVID-19 Pandemic | Corona Hotspots Mapping for Essential planning

Coronavirus has proven to be an ailment of biblical measure. The entirety of civilization is in ruins, social constructs ergo economies, healthcare services, etc are massively affected and almost dysfunctional. The virus has claimed around 2,11,663 lives and infected more than 30,65,889 people worldwide at the time of putting this in words.

At this stage, there are no vaccines for the virus and it is virtually incurable. The only effective and practical precaution perhaps is social distancing. Governments, organizations, researchers, and societies around the globe are brainstorming to find ways that can help us work with minimum or without physical contact.

Artificial Intelligence, robotics, GIS, and Mapping technologies are playing a key role in monitoring this pandemic. In this war against a pathogenic nemesis, drones have proven to be integral by helping authorities and people in different ways to prevent further spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

The challenge before the Policemen

The entire world was caught unawares by this pandemic. The most dreadful part of this virus is the ability to spread by even the slightest contact and even through the air.  Therefore it is mandatory to carry out all the enforcement and essential services maintaining social distancing.

So far our police force had to do all the tasks manually using a large workforce. They were using satellite imagery or old maps to plan all the movements and deployments. But the maps and satellite data were not clear and sometimes inaccurate. 

How Better Drones came up with the solution?

Better Drones teams took the initiative to provide a solution for the police to be provided with real-time accurate high-resolution data. They worked with the UTTAR PRADESH POLICE for aerial mapping of COVID-19 hotspots in Noida and Greater Noida (Gautam Buddh Nagar).

They helped them generate high-resolution maps of the affected areas using UAV technology to plan the essential movements of the following. 

  • Deliveries
  • Placements, shifting & readjustments of barricades 
  • Effective management of society gates

These tasks were otherwise perplexing by physical supervision. 

The workprocess:

  1. Better Drones deployed teams for mapping the area. The team was equipped with all the necessary safety precaution items such as-
  • Jackets and helmets
  • Masks, gloves
  • Sanitizers, etc
  1. Due to the high rise buildings, the data was acquired from a certain altitude to get accurate imagery. All the data acquisition was done in compliance with the DGCA regulations.
  2. After data acquisition, the raw data was processed on photogrammetry software to generate orthomosaic maps. In the meantime, the ortho maps were forwarded to the UP police in a compressed format so they could start working on them.
  3. Another challenge we faced here was that the government and the police department did not have the required software and systems to visualize the data. So we initiated them on Indshine GIS Workspace for planning all the activities and management.
  4. The generated orthomosaic map was overlaid on the satellite image using the Indshine GIS Workspace and then the Better Drones team did annotations for the closed and open gates, deployment of policemen, hotspots near hospitals, and police stations, and the shortest running routes for easy movements in case of an emergency.

These high-resolution aerial maps were then used by the first responders to get a clear picture of the planning of grocery movements and workforce allocation. Maps were also used for allocating passes to online food delivery companies.

The whole project was completed in the record time of 3.5 days. We acquired the data in the day time and processed it at night. The whole team worked diligently to deliver the work as fast as possible.

Currently, drones are also being used for consistent surveillance activities like crowd control, hotspot boundary marking, and doorstep delivery. Drones provide an excellent solution for management and control of the hotspots with deploying minimal physical workforce.