Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster, July 2013
When the notification of natural disaster is declared, priority number one is the safety of the people and it is essential to take action quickly to maximize the chances of rescuing and moving them to safe places. Beyond the persons, the concern then goes to the human facilities and the environment itself. Thus, aerial imagery and airborne LiDAR become, under suitable weather, high valuable tools regarding the quality of the data they capture and the source of information they contain. Indeed, these techniques, by ensuring an overflight of a given territory, provide high-resolution images and points clouds at adjustable densities, that will be used to quantify the damages, to monitore and forecast the disaster’s evolution. Geomatics appears clearly as a powerful tool for the hydrodynamic simulation when studying the extent of natural disasters such as floods.
By capturing airborne data during flood peak, geomaticians are, for example, able to assist in the modeling of possible scenarios about river flows and flood zones by integrating digital terrain models with the data layers available. That is how municipalities are rapidly acquiring a key product to improve risk management, adapt the rescue strategy and guide the emergency assistance teams where populations are the most vulnerable. In this way, information is shared, partnerships are created to protect people and monitor installations that may be hazardous or at risk (electrical installations, power stations, etc.). Landslides are another dangerous phenomenon, like the floods they often lead to. They can cause premature erosion of the soil and degradation of land and buildings, rendering the homes of thousands families unhealthy. Under these circumstances, the sooner the better and being aware of the state of the affected territory guarantees the establishment of the most appropriate and necessary procedures without delay. Indeed, the gravity of a phenomenon depends on the nature of the disaster on the first hand, but also on how the area has been affected, just as important. Since its creation in 1980, Géolocation has intervened during episodes of major catastrophes to acquire aerial data. For example, the unprecedented floods that happened in 1996 in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, during which our teams were the first in the air and in the field to get aerial photographs of the affected area. Seventeen years later, following the tragic accident in Lac-Mégantic caused by the derailment of a train carrying oil, Géolocation is also on site to acquire a LiDAR survey at a density of 6 points/m², and demonstrates once again its ability to mobilize and quickly produce deliverables, like images of intensity.
Géolocation knows how to make available to its customers state-of-the-art equipment plus a team of experienced professionals in the most extreme situations and within a very short times for a fast delivery of processed data: production of orthophotographs , digital terrain/surface models, thematic maps, etc. Thus, digital terrain models we produce can lead to, among other things, flood maps, impact scenarios on the territory such as flood zones. Geolocation prepares for its customers bespoke digital data with spatial reference which is used for the forecasting, the analysis and the different necessary reports for the management of the impacts in natural disasters. A wide range of high quality and accurate products are possible and available, ensuring a reliable and relevant analysis!
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