Hi DIYDrones community! Amazing work you guys are doing!!

We're a group of researchers from Goldsmiths University London, supporting migrants rights organizations in Europe and North Africa to document and bring accountability for the death of migrants at the EU's maritime borders.

We're setting up a platform - watchthemed.crowdmap.com - using all kinds of technology to try and document and map violations in the Mediterranean. We're doing this in collaboration with Boats4People, an important international campaign that will take place this summer between Italy and Tunisia, coalescing around a solidarity boat that will travel between the two shores. http://www.boats4people.org

We thought of trying out drones to monitor the med, fly banners, launching them from from the coast or the solidarity boat. But for our project this summer - 1-20 July - it will be too tight for us to experiment with this technology on our own...

We just wondered if someone in your community might be based in Italy or Tunisia and just might want to experiment in support of our project...

For more info and contacts please view the document attached.

Thanks for your attention on short notice, if not for this time, we'll surely be in touch in the future!

Best, Charles


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  • If you need some help i'm every summer in Tunisia near Monastir.


  • Hi there, thanks for all the constructive feedback!

    Re Mike: "education of local seamen and potential migrants using leaflets and other traditional means", yes, we'r working on that! But we do think DIY UAVs are worth trying out, even if it is to acknowledge difficulties and limitations in relation to our mission.

    Re John: thanks for the link, and yes, we will keep DIY Drones posted, even if the July pilot phase does not involve drones, who knows, for the future...

    Re Roman: "The area is to large for hobby-size drones": yes, this is clearly one of the difficulties we imagined. Do you see any way of working around this? Is it feasible to fly drones from the deck of a small boat (15m) at sea? This could allow for daily "probes" from the solidarity boat.

  • On the technical side. The distance suggested in item 2(1,2,3) is huge. That kind of radius of operation is not hobby-size any more.

  • Charles, this is a fascinating project and I hope that we can get future updates from you.  There may be some overlap between what you're doing (I'm thinking specifically of monitoring) and "drone journalism", it might be beneficial to network with folks interested in that, e.g. see http://www.dronejournalismlab.org/about.

    (I apologize for the rude and even hostile responses by some people--like anywhere on the internet, you sometimes need to learn to filter out the bad from the good.  I hope you stick around anyway.)

  • Charles,

    I asked a question, I wasn't opening a debate. your post was political and I asked for you to explain it as the statement is unclear. That aside have you investigated the legality of what you are doing? Prevention is better than cure - spend your time and money on education of local seamen and potential migrants using leaflets and other traditional means, you will get much wider coverage and pass on a more meaningful message. Might not be as sexy but will be far more effective than gimmicks. Drones, in my view, are not the answer to your problem,


  • Key word "Academics"  DIY stands for  "DO IT YOURSELF"  "Hands On " Try some thing new  Go build some drones and take them out there

  • Dear DIYDrones community,

    Wonderful to see you so responsive ;)

    I’ll of course respect the moderators demand not to enter into debate over the issue of migration policies. Let me just stress that we are academics, and if we may have our political leanings this certainly does not prevent us from producing the most objective and detailed analysis possible. This is what we have done towards our April 2012 report (see http://www.forensic-architecture.org/homepage/fields/investigations... ) using all the technologies we could imagine gathering to this effect, and this is what we are trying to do once again. Our fundamental job and objective is documenting with precision migrants’ deaths and migrants’ rights violations. If in our analysis we remain as descriptive and non-judgemental as possible, this may contribute in turn to the work of NGOs with a deeper political agenda. Personally I am quite happy with that but any collaborator should be conscious of these parameters.

    For those who might be interesting in supporting this initiative, here are a bit more technical details:

    Apart from flying a banner with messages reminding seafarers of their obligations to assist migrants at sea, there would be a monitoring objective – trying to identify migrants vessels in distress as well as the vessels surrounding them - which is a serious challenge using drone attached cameras since we are talking about an extremely large surface.

    As a non-drone specialist reaching out to your community, I could imagine two possibilities:

    1) flying a drone from the solidarity boat during its travel from Palermo to Monastir and back to Lampedusa, extending its vision so to speak within a larger perimeter, exactly as military and coast guards use helicopters operating from their deck.

    2) flying a drone from either the Tunisian coast at key points of departure or from the island of Lampedusa’s coast, the point of arrival of many migrants’ vessels. So here the drone would be launched from the coast at either end of the main migration axes:

    -       1) Tripoli (12' 32.876174, 13.187507)  – Lampedusa (35.508682, 12.592918)

    -       2) Jarjis (33.503681, 11.11538) – Lampedusa (35.508682, 12.592918)

    -       3) Sfax (34.745159, 10.7613) – Lampedusa (35.508682, 12.592918)

    These are the further technical specifications I can provide, of course not only technical feasibility but desire to participate is key ;)

    Best, Charles

  • What hypocrisy. The content of the blog post is highly political, If I am going to comment on technical issues then I have a right to know the basis of their objectives and those objectives are seemingly based on the sentence which I queried. Avoiding political discourse is fine but it does not mean that we blindly ignore people's agendas and particularly when they are overtly political. Allowing the blog post through moderation was maybe the first mistake...

  • Some moderators may need a refresher course in site guidelines and policies.

  • Great Idea for using the Drones for, no matter if you support the Matter or not.
    @Robert Navoni: They don't want to use them for the monitoring yet, they want to fly banners around the boat. Can't see where this would be a legal problem...

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