How a Top 5 US City is Reducing Flood Risk with Drones

By Rachel Handley, UAV Client Services, FlyGuys

July 20, 2018

A recent FlyGuys mission shows just how valuable drone services can be in the area of disaster preparation.

A Top 5 U.S. City contracted FlyGuys to map over 114 miles of water canals for the purpose of checking for vegetation and debris blockage. This city is in a hurricane-prone area and suffered severe damage when a Category 4 storm made landfall last year. Some damage could have been avoided if potential drainage issues had been spotted and repaired beforehand. However, waterway inspection typically requires workers to walk the entire length of the site and since some lengths of aqueduct are impassable on foot due to overgrowth and dangerous terrain, they can be impossible to survey with traditional methods.

For waterway missions like these, drone imaging is preferable to ‘boots on the ground,’ not only to speed up and reduce costs on a normally laborious and expensive task, but because drones allow inspection crews to ‘see’ the impassible areas and ensure the waterways are free from drain blockages and structural defects.

To build the maps, several FlyGuys Pilots were deployed to fly over sections of the canals to take high-resolution pictures. Additional sensors captured volume and distance measurements. Orthomosaic images were created of entire waterway lengths, as well as 2D and 3D views, and the finished products were sent to the city. Maintenance engineers will now be able to view the canals from above in either 2D or 3D to check for obstruction.

What’s more, the city now has a complete, up-to-date map of its canals, which will serve as a benchmark for future comparison. Changes will be more clearly revealed, analyzed, and the right maintenance crews can then be more quickly dispatched.

That makes this city a safer, more prepared place.

To learn more about reducing flood risk with drones, watch the above video demo or visit our Emergency Services page. For a free quote or consultation about drone use in your organization, contact us now.


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Please note that we are currently unable to assist in the search for missing pets. This limitation is due to the specific challenges and regulations associated with using drones for such purposes.