The latest news coming from Taiwan is just tragic and breaks my heart. More than 100 may still be trapped under the rubble. I’ve been blogging about the role that emerging technologies can play in humanitarian response since 2008 but it definitely doesn’t get any easier emotionally to witness these tragic events. I try to draw a psychological line when I can so as not to lose hope and fall apart, but I’m not always successful. Sometimes it is just easier psychologically to focus on the technology and nothing else. My thoughts go out to all the families affected.
My colleague Preston Ward from DronePan kindly connected me to a friend of his, Elton, in Taiwan. Elton is with Super720, a company that creates impressive Virtual Reality (VR) panoramas. They deployed within 4 hours of the earthquake and used aerial robots (UAVs) at 5 different locations to capture both 360° aerial panoramas and 4K video to document the earthquake damage.
Click on the image below to view the pano in full 360° (takes a while to load).
360° visual analysis may prove useful and complementary for inspecting disaster damage. If there were a way to geo-reference and orthorectify these panos, they could potentially play a larger role in the disaster assessment process which uses geospatial data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
The team in Taiwan also shared this aerial video footage of the damage:
As one of my upcoming blog posts will note, we should be able to run computer vision algorithms on aerial videos to automatically detect disaster damage. We should also be able to use Virtual Reality to carry out damage assessments. You can already use VR to inspect at the earthquake damage in Taiwan here.