Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 1961-1979, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-17-1961-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
20 Nov 2017
A method for using unmanned aerial vehicles for emergency investigation of single geo-hazards and sample applications of this method
Haifeng Huang1,2,3, Jingjing Long2,3, Wu Yi3,4, Qinglin Yi3,4, Guodong Zhang3,4, and Bangjun Lei1 1Hubei Key Laboratory of Intelligent Vision Based Monitoring for Hydroelectric Engineering, China Three Gorges University, Yichang 443002, China
2Key Laboratory of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation of Hubei Province, China Three Gorges University, Yichang 443002, China
3National Field Observation and Research Station of Landslides in the Three Gorges Reservoir Area of Yangtze River, China Three Gorges University, Yichang 443002, China
4Collaborative Innovation Center for Geo-Hazards and Eco-Environment in the Three Gorges Area of Hubei Province, Yichang 443002, China
Abstract. In recent years, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become widely used in emergency investigations of major natural hazards over large areas; however, UAVs are less commonly employed to investigate single geo-hazards. Based on a number of successful investigations in the Three Gorges Reservoir area, China, a complete UAV-based method for performing emergency investigations of single geo-hazards is described. First, a customized UAV system that consists of a multi-rotor UAV subsystem, an aerial photography subsystem, a ground control subsystem and a ground surveillance subsystem is described in detail. The implementation process, which includes four steps, i.e., indoor preparation, site investigation, on-site fast processing and application, and indoor comprehensive processing and application, is then elaborated, and two investigation schemes, automatic and manual, that are used in the site investigation step are put forward. Moreover, some key techniques and methods – e.g., the layout and measurement of ground control points (GCPs), route planning, flight control and image collection, and the Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry processing – are explained. Finally, three applications are given. Experience has shown that using UAVs for emergency investigation of single geo-hazards greatly reduces the time, intensity and risks associated with on-site work and provides valuable, high-accuracy, high-resolution information that supports emergency responses.

Citation: Huang, H., Long, J., Yi, W., Yi, Q., Zhang, G., and Lei, B.: A method for using unmanned aerial vehicles for emergency investigation of single geo-hazards and sample applications of this method, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 1961-1979, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-17-1961-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
Unmanned aerial vehicles are widely used in the emergency investigations of major natural hazards in a large area, but less commonly for single geo-hazards. Based on a number of successful practices in the Three Gorges Reservoir area, China, a complete UAV-based emergency investigation method of single geo-hazards is concluded. It can not only greatly reduce the time, strength and risks, but can also provide high-accuracy, high-definition valuable information to support emergency responses.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are widely used in the emergency investigations of major natural...
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