Drones being used in Nepal for Urban Planning and Project Progress Monitoring

There are many use cases of Drones. Now even Government authorities have embraced this technology.

Gokarneshwor Municipality has begun the use of drones for capturing high-resolution aerial images of the municipality for city planning, infrastructure development, and project progress monitoring. This makes it the first municipality in Nepal to formally begin the use of drones for better quality data capture which can in turn help in better planning and sustainable development.

Drone Survey Gokarneshwar .JPG
First Drone survey of a Municipality in Nepal

The municipality has partnered with Dronepal and has been made possible with help from Angelswing, a Korean drone service company, which has been making world-class drone software platform and is providing full access to their drone processing platform Angelswing.io for the required post-processing of drone data. KOICA has also supported this process. The main objective of this project is to make use of drones for capturing high-resolution aerial images of the municipality which can later facilitate the preparation of a geospatial database of the municipality area.

Gokarneshwor Municipality is one of the rapidly urbanizing municipalities in Kathmandu Valley. Rapid growth in population, Use of agricultural land and open spaces for construction of residential structures without proper guidelines and planning has made the urban population more vulnerable to disasters.

Through the drone captured images, the municipality plans to generate detailed GIS-based maps of the municipal area  that can be used for following purposes:

  • To clearly locate and identify ground objects like buildings, roads, water channels, trees, etc.
  • Generate detailed street network map within the Municipality.
  • The overlapping image pairs captured by drones can be used to generate topographical maps of the ground surface. A topographical map can be utilized by construction and engineering projects.
  • Drones can be one of the best tools to monitor the progress of infrastructure projects happening on the ground as it provides a unique viewing angle of ground details. The city planners and engineers can remotely monitor what projects are happening where along with their status. Aerial photographs can be created from exactly the same angle and exactly the same position at regular time intervals. This helps to document changes to construction projects of any scale happening at the ground.

Traditionally Surveying and mapping are done using ground surveying tools like Total Station that require a longer time to capture data and prepare maps. For bigger ground coverage, this can be a very costly and time-consuming process. Likewise, urban planning works to date are usually based on satellite images. Even though it can be a relatively cheaper approach, it is difficult to identify building level footprints in such images because of the image quality. Drone captured images are of very high quality and object recognition is more effective and accurate.

After the devastating earthquake of April, 2015, the government has come up with strict laws and regulations for drone flights. With more and more growing use cases of this technology across a wide range of sectors; surveying and mapping, agriculture, surveillance, delivery of emergency supplies, the guidelines are now loosening up.

Processing of huge datasets generated from the project will be made possible with the technical support from Angelswing. The technical planning and GIS analysis will involve Dronepal and its partner organization Naxa Pvt. Ltd.

Dronepal is also the first drone based service provider company in Nepal