Drones being used to speed up flood recovery in NSW

Aerial imagery of flood affected areas in New South Wales are being captured using drones.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor on
Image: NSW government

The New South Wales government has extended its use of drones to speed up the state's recovery from last month's devastating floods.

According to the state government, it has been using drones to take aerial imagery of affected areas that remain damaged or are still inaccessible by road. Some of the imagery include details of where soil and debris need to be removed.

"Our drones have allowed us to get a flying start on understanding exactly what damage has been done so our engineers can work out what is required to fix it -- from how many tonnes of rock and debris need to be removed to the data we need to build 3D modelling of the slopes affected. Best of all, they can take images from multiple angles without putting workers' safety at risk," Deputy Premier John Barilaro said.

In addition, the drones have been used along the Oxley Highway, after access between Forbes River Road and Gingers Creek Roadhouse was cut off due to landslips.  

"Drones are playing a critical role in our efforts to restore access on key roads like the Oxley as quickly as possible, allowing us to get a close-up view of the damage well before it was safe to send crews into these areas," Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said.

"Access is still dangerous and difficult in many areas where we've seen these landslides but drones have meant we can determine the full extent of damage that can't be seen from the road."

Over the last few years, the state government has been using drones to recover from other natural disasters, such as bushfires, as well as for shark-spotting along the state's coastline.

Drones are also being used for routine maintenance and planning for infrastructure projects, the state government added.

Elsewhere within state government, an audit regime has been launched that uses data to identify the worst performing building certifiers and the residential apartment buildings they are working on.

The state government said the audit regime is based on a digital platform that uses more than 170 million lines of data to help keep more building certifiers in-check.

"If an audit identifies potentially defective or non-compliant building work, we will step in immediately to issue rectification or stop work orders to protect consumers before they move in," Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said.

Anderson added the regime will enable the state to complete more audits.

"Through these new audits we expect to be able to audit an additional 100 to 150 buildings every six months, more than tripling the regulator's compliance and enforcement efforts on residential apartment buildings," Anderson said.

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