Drone services company Globhe joins recovery efforts in Turkey

Swedish crowd droning organisation Globhe has joined the humanitarian community in Turkey and is involved with the search and rescue efforts currently underway in the country.

By now, we’re sure that you are aware of the desperate humanitarian situation in Turkey and Syria, caused by the devastating earthquake in these two countries that has so far claimed at least 36,900 lives.

Among people still missing is Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu, who is believed to be still trapped under the rubble at the headquarters of his Turkish Super League club Hatayspor in Antakya, the provincial capital of Hatay in southern Turkey.

“We have about twenty drone operators on the ground in Turkey who are being mobilised to be able to map the damage after the earthquake”, Globhe founder and chief executive Helena Samsioe told Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri.

“In Syria, we have no activity because it is a complex country for drone flights.”

Samisoe said her organisation was contacted by one of the major humanitarian organisations working in Turkey; but added that some members of Globhe’s worldwide crowd droning family had already gone on the ground to join the recovery efforts.

Started in 2016, Globhe is practically a marketplace for drone operators where individuals and organisation looking for drone services can get in touch, and Globhe will in turn recommend drone services in the areas they are located.

With 6,500 drone operators in 131 countries, Globhe has previously worked with the UN missions in connection with natural disasters, most recently during the floods in Malawi and California and after the earthquake in Nepal in November.

“The important thing is that the drone pilots are up and running as quickly as possible,” Samisoe said. “When they can deliver image data, it is possible to see exactly what has happened, provide information about damaged buildings, which roads are drivable, which bridges can still be used and in some cases our operators can even search with thermal imaging cameras for those affected.

Helena Samisoe

“In the event of natural disasters, we sometimes send out our operators even before the requests arrive so that we have the image data in place. The sooner we can get the information and make it available to humanitarian organisations, the better decisions they can make.”

Samisoe explained that the priority for drone operators upon arriving at a disaster scene like the one in Turkey is to help collect data on which areas should be prioritised and where relief efforts should be deployed.

“Drones can deliver high-resolution images and data unlike satellite imagery which is usually not detailed enough. When the emergency rescue phase is over, there will be a construction phase of the infrastructure, which roads and bridges require action.”

Shedding more light on the operations of her organisation, Samisoe said Globhe operates along the lines of a “classic gig model; (the drone operators) are not employees but small business owners, sometimes one-man companies. Everyone who flies for us is certified. They are not just any private individuals. If they are geographically close to where something has happened, we ‘ping’ them through our platform, or if they are available, they contact us.”

Globhe is headquarteredin Stockholm; the company’s twenty employees are spread out globally, most of them in Sweden.

Customers include health organisations that want help in, for example, identifying signs of impending malaria outbreaks, forest companies that map their forests, energy companies that map their wind turbines and telecom companies that need to control telephone masts.

Massive recovery efforts are underway in Turkey and Syria, after the 7,7magnitude earthquake struck areas in Southern and central Turkey and northern and Western Syria early on the morning of February 6, which resulted in widespread loss of lives and damage to property and infrastructure.

Main Picture from Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images


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