What Humanitarians Can Learn from Conservation UAVs

I recently joined my fellow National Geographic Emergency Explorer colleague Shah Selbe on his first expedition of SoarOcean, which seeks to leverage low-cost UAVs for Ocean protection. Why did I participate in an expedition that seemingly had nothing to do with humanitarian response? Because the conservation space is well ahead of the humanitarian sector when it comes to using UAVs. To this end, we have a lot to learn from colleagues like Shah and others outside our field. The video below explains this further & provides a great overview of SoarOcean.

And here’s my short amateur aerial video from the expedition:

My goal, by the end of the year, is to join two more expeditions led by members of the Humanitarian UAV Network Advisory Board. Hopefully one of these will be with Drone Adventures (especially now that I’ve been invited to volunteer as “Drone Adventures Ambassador”, possibly the coolest title I will ever have). I’m also hoping to join my colleague Steve from the ShadowView Foundation in one of his team’s future expeditions. His Foundation has extensive experience in the use of UAVs for anti-poaching and wildlife conservation.

In sum, I learned heaps during Shah’s SoarOcean expedition; there’s just no substitute for hands-on learning and onsite tinkering. So I really hope I can join Drone Adventures and ShadowView later this year. In the meantime, big thanks to Shah and his awesome team for a great weekend of flying and learning.

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See Also:

  • Welcome to the Humanitarian UAV Network [link]
  • How UAVs are Making a Difference in Disaster Response [link]
  • Humanitarians Using UAVs for Post Disaster Recovery [link]
  • Grassroots UAVs for Disaster Response [link]
  • Using UAVs for Search & Rescue [link]
  • Debrief: UAV/Drone Search & Rescue Challenge [link]
  • Crowdsourcing Analysis of UAV Imagery for Search/Rescue [link]
  • Check-List for Flying UAVs in Humanitarian Settings [link]

3 responses to “What Humanitarians Can Learn from Conservation UAVs

  1. I’ve worked in disaster response in Louisiana for over a decade, and I can tell you that, at least in this region, environmental conservation and disaster preparedness/response go hand-in-hand. If you look at all the major disasters that have impacted Louisiana over the last decade, all of them had environmental degradation as an important factor influencing impacts.

    My advice to humanitarians everywhere is to get you know your local conservation groups. They have a lot of knowledge and skills, in addition to UAVs, that you can utilize to reduce risk.

    • Thanks Erza, and fully agreed with you: “My advice to humanitarians everywhere is to get you know your local conservation groups. They have a lot of knowledge and skills, in addition to UAVs, that you can utilize to reduce risk.”

  2. Any thing that has been developed with war in mind has a “dual use”. If mankind could just sign a treaty that only defensive weapons are allowed, and concentrate the rest of its efforts on sustainability and conservation, we’d be saved.

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