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Drones could help update cartography in Colombia

Isolated areas of Colombia which do not have accurate or updated cartography could be mapped using unmanned aerial vehicles.

Medellín, 08 de julio de 2016Agencia de Noticias UN–

Unmanned aerial vehicles are used for sports, recreational and military purposes among others.

23 professionals from different areas were participants of the training course.

Antonio Iturbe Posadas has taught this course in different countries around the world.

An activity was performed at the UNal Piedras Blancas Forest Station which resulted in a cartographic product of the land.

Academia is essential to provide a more democratic and efficient use of this technology.

Drones expedite obtaining information of difficult to access lands.

Aware of the importance of cartography in Colombia and with the need to update the tools to produce it, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) in Medellín wants to be the pioneer in the use of this technology with academic purposes. 

For this reason UNal organized a training course entitled, “Using unmanned aerial vehicles to create cartographic products.” 

“The capabilities of two guest engineers plus the experience of the Laboratory of Geomatics provided us the opportunity to offer the region and Colombia this technology using Agrarian Sciences,” said Department of Forest Sciences Professor Luis Jairo Toro Restrepo. 

The laboratory developed in 1950 has helped obtain land measurements and produced cartography for the region using aerial photography and satellite imagery. Now the idea behind the project is to benefit from drone technology to debunk the impression that obtaining these types of images is a very specialized process. Professionals from different areas such as environmental, civil and forest engineers, geologists, biologists and zootechnicians among others could also benefit from this technology. 

“This is the first time we offer this course from the environmental and agrarian perspective. The territory of these areas is very large and cannot be managed completely from the ground because the land makes it impossible, therefore drones constitute a cutting-edge photogravimetry and digital technology tool to obtain accurate cartography,” said Toro. 

According to Miguel Idrobo Topographic Engineer and representative of the firm GeoProcess, there is a 30 year lag in cartography in Colombia and although there is satellite imagery, the cloudiness of the region make it difficult to obtain accurate information. 

“There are areas such as Amazonas, Orinoquía, and some areas of the Pacific which lack cartography because they are difficult to access and updating cartography processes require great financial resources. This is where drones could be of great assistance to obtain this information,” he said. 

The Director of Innovation and Geospatial Application of the Mexican Center for Civil Geospatial Application and Training, Antonio Iturbe Posadas, who works with Idrobo, says that using this technology for the geography of Latin America has significant benefits beside being an excellent opportunity. 

“Maps are important and help solve issues, diminish costs and make for more productive businesses. In the case of Forest Engineering and similar careers, unmanned aerial vehicles could help to become cognizant of the resources of a determined area or the damages after a natural disaster. The greatest benefit is receiving real-time information which helps decision-making,” said Iturbe. 

In Colombia, the Office of Civil Aeronautics issued a regulation on using drones with purposes different to recreational or sporting activities by issuing Regulatory Circular No. 002. Among some of the most prominent features is that weight should not exceed 25 kilos, have an automatic piloting system and a GPS, a motor which does not produce excessive noise and an ID plate, among others.

(Por: Fin/CST/MLA
)
N.° 71

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