30 Mar 2016

Aerial mapping proving useful to Pacific disaster management

11:25 am on 30 March 2016

A New Zealand engineer says unique aerial mapping technology used in Fiji after Cyclone Winston, could be hugely beneficial to the wider region in times of disaster.

A birds eye view of Lavena village Taveuni in Fiji after Cyclone Winston

A birds eye view of Lavena village Taveuni in Fiji after Cyclone Winston Photo: Alex Perrottet/RNZ

The technology was used on photographs of Fiji taken from a plane by the New Zealand defence force, after the cyclone hit.

The technology, offered at no cost to Fiji by Tonkin and Taylor during Winston, helped authorities quickly identify the worst affected areas and determine what aid was urgently needed.

Peter Quilter said the use of oblique aerial photographs used in damage assessment was the first instance they knew of in the world.

Mr Quilter said the technology mapped out the details in the photographs and helped authorities to make high-level decisions.

He said it would be enormously useful for the Pacific, which remained vulnerable to natural disasters.

"It's not only helpful in the humanitarian response phase but in terms of understanding key vulnerabilities that apply throughout the Pacific, it's going to reap huge, huge benefits down the track."

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