By Josiah Burkett, Jamaica Flying Labs
After being hit by Hurricane Irma in 2017, St Maarten was severely affected by damages and losses estimated at US$2.7 billion. In response to the disaster, projects were initiated with the goal of recovery, reconstruction, and strengthening of the country’s resilience to future disasters. Data collection was a critical part of this goal, and Jamaica Flying Labs played an essential role in utilizing drone technology to collect aerial imagery that could later be used for analysis purposes.
Jamaica Flying Labs partnered with the World Bank in March 2019 to perform an aerial survey, mapping of most of the urban area of St Maarten, approximately 20 square kilometers.
The World Bank wanted to get data that allowed them to determine landscape and geographic information, as well as things like building height. A project of this nature and scale could only be executed efficiently with the use of technology, specific expertise, and coordination critical to the project’s success.
Such a project highlighted the need for more similar projects within the Caribbean region as natural disasters are a common challenge that multiple countries face. Projects, as such, with a proactive approach rather than reactive, can minimize losses and propel economies into sustainable and efficient development.
This data and information enable decision-makers to prepare for possible future scenarios based on historical data and impact assessments. It is also not limited to disaster management; it can be a stepping stone to making cities and countries smart and sustainable. Further data analysis and collection can, therefore, be of benefit to the economies of these countries.
We want to thank our partners and all involved parties, including the World Bank and Nepal Flying Labs, for collaboration and assistance in the execution of this project.