February 2, 2022

Drones for Hydrology & Flood Studies

Climate change is for real.

We have heard this far too many times now. In fact, we are witnessing many parts of the world going through unprecedented changes in daily weather patterns. One of the most common effects of this change is untimely rains/storms/cyclones. These ill-timed guests are seen to leave behind large chunks of submerged lands. 

As a natural reflex, our scientists have begun to analyse changes in patterns in order to predict potential behaviour and identify areas under threat. 

Enter: Hydrology and Flood Studies

Technically known as Hydrologic and Hydraulic analyses, these are essentially studies undertaken to stimulate response of a given area to water. Typically these are large-scale studies performed at the level of rivers and its tributaries. It is conducted to determine how the surrounding areas, called as Basin/Watershed, react to change in water flow pattern or construction of a dam etc. It helps in identifying potential areas of submergence and to develop plans for rerouting water away safely. 

How does this affect us?

Even though the study warrants a large area, it plays an equally important role in determining water safety of smaller areas as well. This concept can be applied to areas of any size such as a city or an individual site within it. In reality, a majority of government bodies across the world are known to have by-laws mandating Flood Risk studies prior to commencement of any project activity or construction. 

So, if you are a developer looking to begin a project, then Hydrology & Flood Study has to be among the first things on your checklist. 

Who does the analysis do & how is it done?

Traditionally, Civil Engineering consultants specializing in Water Resources conduct this study. Methodology of analysis is decided based on area type and preliminary data available. Some of the methods are:

1. Interpolate results from a larger watershed to which the site belongs:

Any and every small area is part of a larger watershed, like that of a stream or river. So, one of the go-to methods for analysis is to estimate the behavior of AOI (Area of Interest) based on analysis of the larger watershed. 

2. Using a previously conducted survey data of the site: 

Survey departments periodically conduct topographic surveys of all areas and provide the data to users at a nominal fee. Consultants use the latest available data to perform study and estimate water flow quantities & conditions.

Conduct a physical survey for the AOI:

A traditional survey is conducted to gather all physical properties of the site which is then used for all computations, similar to the previous method. The survey is done just before analysis. A common factor among all three methods is that all data analysis and calculations are performed manually. Needless to say, it is a tedious process which requires a minimum of 30 days to complete.

How will Drones make a difference?

Drone survey fundamentally stands for these things:

  • Remote survey & Digital data 
  • High Accuracy
  • Quick & Efficient workflow

A drone survey of the AOI will naturally bring in these factors to the analyses and its results. Further, there are a lot more additional advantages of using a drone survey, such as:

  • Time taken for data collection is very less, typically a few hours. So huge areas can be surveyed in a couple of days. 
  • Data captured precisely represents the on-site condition, with centimeter level accuracy.
  • Turn around time for analysis of the captured data is also less, about 3-5 days.
  • It is a digital survey, so all the analyses are performed intelligently using a suite of software catering to the specific requirements. 
  • Scope for error is almost negligible with domain experts monitoring the whole process.
  • Processed data is easily integratable with satellite data to assess the conditions and contributions of the neighbouring areas in the watershed.
  • Outputs can be viewed on all devices with internet connection. Anywhere. Anytime. 
  • Results are provided in interoperable formats, which can be used in multiple other widely used software, like AutoCAD, Civil 3D, BIM, etc.

To sum up, accurate data is collected to precisely stimulate the ground conditions and its response to rainfall. And, the entire activity is completed in under 10 days regardless of the area size.

In this fast paced world, remotely assessing your land’s water safety within a week’s time is hands down the best option one has. More importantly the analysis is specific to your site, detailing what happens when water enters it and how to keep it safe, while accounting for the entire watershed. 

To know more or for a demo, click here.

Accurate, customised and quick - Characteristics of services offered by Skylark Drones