Fighting Droughts with Drone Data

Uganda

Uganda has been hit hard by climate change in the 21st century. Droughts affected close to 2.4 million people between 2004 and 2013, and drought conditions in 2010 and 2011 caused an estimated loss and damage value of $1.2 billion, equivalent to 7.5% of Uganda’s 2010 GDP. On the other extreme, flooding represents about 27% of the yearly average natural hazard occurrence in Uganda, according to the World Bank. Therefore, fundamental challenges should be aided by drone data insights to help the local communities plan and adapt for future disasters.

Drone operator, Mutungi Timothy, captured this map to aid farmers in making decisions to mitigate the effects of droughts and flooding to increase their crop yields. The base image is an orthomosaic map that can be processed to provide information that is helpful for various stakeholders.

Seeing the impact of technology in this area was a very proud moment for my small team and me. We believe we will use the same data for more research on forestry, biomass, and artificial intelligence.

Mutungi Timothy

One way to avoid the destruction of lands and crops during a flooding event is to construct them in areas where we know that flood water cannot reach them. This can be achieved by using topographic maps. The latter shows elevation profiles and can be extracted from the orthomosaic map that was created with the drone. In this image, the blue is shallow while the red is high ground. There is 90 meters difference between this map's lowest and highest points.

To limit the effect of droughts, we can save water. To do that, we monitor the endangered crops or those struggling to check plant health using NDVI maps. This processing technology detects plants that are stressed or not feeling well due to a lack of water supply. When mapping these, we can then focus watering on only plants that need water instead of watering everything, including the plants that are not needing it much at the moment.

Mutungi Timothy

Drone operator

Mutungi is a Crowddroning operator based in Uganda. He submitted these images and maps as part of the Drones 4 Sustainable Forestry and Urban Green Challenge by GLOBHE to highlight local community challenges in forests in his home country. Mutungi is an experienced drone operator and a valuable member of GLOBHE's Crowddroning community.