Patrick Meier's Blog (54)

Video: Crisis Mapping Nepal with UAVs

I had the honor of spearheading this disaster recovery UAV mission in Nepal a few weeks ago as part of Kathmandu Flying Labs. This Flying Lab is the first of several local UAV innovation labs that I am setting up with friends and…


Added by Patrick Meier on November 4, 2015 at 10:15am — 1 Comment

Using Computer Vision to Analyze Aerial Big Data from UAVs During Disasters

Recent scientific research has shown that aerial imagery captured during a single 20-minute UAV flight can take more than half-a-day to analyze. We flew several dozen flights during…


Added by Patrick Meier on October 13, 2015 at 9:54am — 2 Comments

In Nepal, a model for using drones for humanitarianism emerges

The Humanitarian UAV Mission I spearheaded in Nepal a couple weeks ago was just featured in the Washington Post. For more information on the mission…


Added by Patrick Meier on October 7, 2015 at 11:30am — No Comments

The First Ever 3D Model of a Refugee Camp Made with Drone Imagery


A colleague of mine just returned from overseas where he flew a UAV as part of an independent exploratory project. He did so with permission and also engaged directly with local communities in the process—as per the guidelines listed in…


Added by Patrick Meier on August 17, 2015 at 8:00am — 18 Comments

Using Drones to Map Diamond Mines and Reduce Conflict in Africa

In June 2014, a joint USAID and USGS team used a small UAV to map artisanal diamond mining sites in Western Guinea. The purpose of this UAV mission was to support the “Kimberley Process (KP), an international initiative aimed at preventing the flow of conflict diamonds.” Adhering to the…


Added by Patrick Meier on August 11, 2015 at 6:38am — 2 Comments

Drones: A force for good when flying in the face of disaster (UK Guardian)

Unmanned aircraft can be put to effective use in humanitarian situations, but a code of conduct is needed to make sure they are used safely and efficiently

UK Guardian, July 28, 2015

After typhoon…


Added by Patrick Meier on July 29, 2015 at 4:33am — No Comments

Developing Guidelines for Humanitarian Drone Missions


The Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators) recently organized a 3-day…


Added by Patrick Meier on July 21, 2015 at 3:53am — 4 Comments

Review: The First Ever Course on Humanitarian Drones


The Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators) promotes the safe, coordinated and effective use of UAVs in a wide range of humanitarian settings. To this end, the Network's mission includes training the first generation of Humanitarian UAV experts. This explains why I teamed up with VIVES…


Added by Patrick Meier on June 17, 2015 at 5:46am — 2 Comments

Humanitarian Drone Missions: Towards Best Practices

The purpose of the handbook below is to promote the safe, coordinated and effective use of UAVs in a wide range of humanitarian settings. The handbook draws on lessons learned during recent humanitarian UAV missions in Vanuatu (March-April 2015) and Nepal (April-May 2015) as well as earlier UAV missions…


Added by Patrick Meier on June 2, 2015 at 9:48am — 5 Comments

Assessing Disaster Damage from 3D Point Clouds

Humanitarian and development organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank typically carry out disaster damage and needs assessments following major disasters. The ultimate goal of these assessments is to measure the impact of disasters on the society, economy and environment of the affected…


Added by Patrick Meier on May 18, 2015 at 5:51am — 5 Comments

Humanitarian Drone Missions in Nepal: Early Observations

There are at the very least 7 humanitarian UAV teams operating in Nepal. We know this since these teams voluntarily chose to liaise with the Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators). In this respect, the current humanitarian UAV response is far better coordinated than the one I…


Added by Patrick Meier on May 4, 2015 at 3:05am — 3 Comments

Crowdsourcing Point Clouds for Disaster Response

Point Clouds, or 3D models derived from high resolution aerial imagery, are in fact nothing new. Several software platforms already exist to reconstruct a series of 2D aerial images into fully fledged 3D-fly-through models. Check out these very neat examples from my colleagues at Pix4D and SenseFly:…


Added by Patrick Meier on April 10, 2015 at 1:30am — No Comments

Pictures: Humanitarian UAV Mission to Vanuatu in Response to Cyclone Pam


Above: Aéroport de Port Vila - Bauerfield International Airport. As we land, thousands of uprooted trees could be seen in almost every direction. Below:Massive roots were not enough to save these trees from Cyclone Pam. The devastation reminds us how powerful nature is.




After getting clearance from the Australian Defense Force (ADF), we pack up our UAVs and head over to…


Added by Patrick Meier on March 29, 2015 at 7:33pm — 6 Comments

What to Know When Using Humanitarian UAVs for Transportation

UAV payload unit

UAVs can support humanitarian action in a variety of ways. Perhaps the most common and well-documented use-case is data collection. There are several other use-cases, however, such as payload transportation, which I have blogged about here, …


Added by Patrick Meier on March 3, 2015 at 7:38am — No Comments

"The Davos of Drones" - DroneApps & Expo 2015 - Switzerland

I am Chairing a panel on "Humanitarian UAVs" at the DroneApps & Expo 2015 in Lausanne, Switzerland (September 14-15). This panel will featuring…

Added by Patrick Meier on March 1, 2015 at 9:58pm — No Comments

How to Counter Rumors and Prevent Violence Using UAVs


The Sentinel Project recently launched their Human Security UAV program in Kenya’s violence-prone Tana Delta to directly support Una Hakika ("Are You Sure"). Hakika is an information service that serves to “counteract malicious misinformation [disinformation] which has been the trigger for recent outbreaks of violence in the region.” While the Tana Delta is one of Kenya's least…


Added by Patrick Meier on February 16, 2015 at 11:30pm — 2 Comments

Can This Unique Conservation Drone Be Used for Disaster Response?

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 8.38.46 AM

I had the distinct honor of both keynoting & judging the outstanding Drones for Good Challenge in Dubai last week (see my live reports). Teams from all around the world came to the UAE to compete. Some of the drones that took to the sky were truly remarkable.…


Added by Patrick Meier on February 12, 2015 at 2:39am — 9 Comments

Drones and Artificial Intelligence for Social Good

MM Oryx

MicroMappers combines crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence to make sense of “Big Data” for Social Good. Why artificial intelligence (AI)? Because regular crowdsourcing alone is no match for Big Data. The …


Added by Patrick Meier on February 10, 2015 at 2:38am — 3 Comments

Drones for Good Make History in Dubai

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 11.00.13 AM

We've just wrapped up an incredible week at the first ever Drones for Good Challenge. Not only was this the first event of its kind in Dubai, it was the first ever such event in the world. I was thus hugely…


Added by Patrick Meier on February 7, 2015 at 9:19am — 1 Comment

UAV/Drone Pilots in Philippines: Responding to Typhoon Hagupit?

From: The Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators)

To: UAV/Drone pilots in the Philippines

If you capture any imagery…


Added by Patrick Meier on December 3, 2014 at 8:00am — No Comments

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