NASSCOM CoE has recently incubated DronaMaps, which is powering command and control centers to support search & rescue missions with NDRF and other national and international bodies during natural calamities.
DronaMaps specialises in command-and-control centers that integrate existing information of a geography with a backbone of 3D drone maps and drone live feeds. This brings together in depth understanding of the area of interest with real time updates and visuals of the situation on the ground. Previously, DronaMaps has provided geospatial intelligence-based command and control centers to 7 states in India during the Covid 19 pandemic.
NDRF is the largest rescue force in the world and has been adopting innovative technology with the help of AGNIi and Invest India. As the disaster in Uttarakhand hit, DronaMaps’ command and control center enabled prioritisation and decision making on the ground, drastically cutting down the time and risk of reconnaissance. For example, areas which were 300-400m below the accessible region in steep slopes and could have taken hours to reach were surveyed with drones in a matter of minutes, all the while ensuring the safety of the rescue personnel. For on ground operations, eight to nine areas were prioritized based on data from high resolution 3D maps, live drone images, and videos. The 3D drone map enabled a simulation model of the flood, estimating the movement of the water. The real time visual feed helped identify structures with maximum damage, location of sewage grates etc. Signs of life amidst the debris were identified with advanced thermal sensors. During the reconnaissance phase of the rescue operations, drones helped assess if the tunnels were logged with water and strategise the safest approach.
Ayushi Mishra, COO & Co-Founder, DronaMaps, said that a geospatial analysis of the Chamoli glacier from high resolution satellite maps revealed that between the dates of 5th February and 10th February 2021, the area lost 135 sqkm of snow cover. According to estimates, the damage to Tapovan site is spread across 35 acres with assets washed out or with structural damage. This geospatial analysis aimed to recreate the entire chain of events starting from the source in Chamoli simulating the flow of water till Tapovan, identifying damage to assets in the path till Tapovan, and in the end a geospatial change tracking of the Tapovan area itself.
With the intention of assessing damage on the path and to understand the chain of events so we can potentially use this knowledge in the future to predict and enable preparedness for such events. The command-and-control center connected the entire on ground force with reliable and transparent information about the lay of the land.
Sudhanshu Mittal, Head-CoE Gurugram & Director – Technical Solutions, NASSCOM CoE said that drone technology has critical role to play in multiple areas. While we have already seen the tremendous benefits in disaster management, different areas like crowd management, crime tracking, crop estimation and condition analysis, urban disaster management, property mapping etc are some of the areas where drones can play critical role. Indian startups are developing highly advanced and innovative solutions which are suitable for Indian conditions. They have also demonstrated on-ground capability of addressing both peace time and disaster time challenges by working closely with relevant agencies. It is necessary that government agencies tap into this ecosystem and use these developed technologies, which will be great incentive for more players to come forward and develop more advanced solutions.
Ayushi further informed that with Covid19, DronaMaps had experience in providing quick technological support and during the Tapovan crisis, DronaMaps worked alongside multiple agencies like ITBP, NDRF, SDMA, and ISRO to provide research and analytical support. Executing a real time implementation of the future of Command-and-Control Centers during a disaster situation provides stress testing of how to incorporate emerging technology to bolster disaster management response on the ground. The learnings from the initiative would translate to an operational understanding of the requirements to apply such an implementation at scale– we can potentially track the condition of glaciers to predict future disasters of this nature, and real time dashboards with live updates increase efficiency of execution and minimise the human cost of such a disaster.