[HOT] [activation hotosm] Hurricane Matthew response : Imagery/UAV coordination and support to local Haitian UAV capacities

nicolas chavent nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Sat Oct 8 18:55:05 UTC 2016

Hi Blake,

Yes Fred and the Haitian dronists on the ground have skills and extensive
experience but little resources to keep up their work; this did not prevent
them from doing what they are good at. This can limit the span of their
action at a time where humanitarian actors need local capacities to
generate post disaster UAV imagery as well as satellite imagery to carry
out post disaster needs assessment. Support to their work can span from
small logistics support (rides in UNHAS, helis, plane and cars). This is
quite common to get such support in any sudden onset disaster responses
when GIS/UAV resources (leading to high impact for IM and decision making)
already undersized are rare, too rare.

When HOT started its first field missions, we were exactly in the same
situation as Fred. Skilled individuals (less experimented though) with
adequate equipment, but with little operational resources. We did good.
Without the above mentioned forms of support, though our impact would have
been limited and the course of action for OMS in Haiti and in other
countries different.

With the above in mind, it's weird to read that the president of HOT US Inc
stating that the only HOT US Inc support for Fred and this collective of
local Haitian dronists is only a well known list of UAV groups and a
pointer to UN OCHA. That's of no help.

UAV are used in Tanzania by HOT US Inc in Development and Disaster Risk
Reduction (DRR) contexts [1]. Thanks to multi years of UAV activities in
Haiti, this country is no longer a terra incognita when it comes to drones
and there is no such thing as "UAV missions in disaster zones with
notoriously complicated airspaces" but an area where it's possible to
operate and make the difference we ought to the Haitians and to the
Haitians mappers/dronists who acquired part of their skills via HOT US Inc
and OSM folks.

Do we have to understand that HOT US Inc will not help with simple
facilitation work with partner relief organizations working in Haiti, some
of those orgs (ARC, MSF etc) having representatives in the membership or
the Board ?

Given where HOT US Inc comes from and ironically in Haiti, this would mean
a lot in terms of the losses of our operational/organizational ethos and
would raise questions about the reality of support/empowerment schemes to
local communities or possible conflict of interest between members/Board
members of HOT US Inc and other organizations.


[1] : https://hotosm.org/projects/tanzania

On Sat, Oct 8, 2016 at 6:42 PM, Blake Girardot <bgirardot at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Nico,
> As you say, you and Fred have extensive experience in Hait and working
> with international partners in Haiti. Fred is actually on the ground
> in Haiti. You and he would be the best to coordinate him flying
> missions.
> This is not something HOT does, we do not coordinate or push for UAV
> missions in disaster zones with notoriously complicated airspaces. We
> rely on, and UAV missions need to be handled, by professionals, which
> you and Fred are, so I expect you should be able to handle making the
> proper arrangements and coordinations.
> I already suggested who to contact, UAviators, they have coordinated
> UAV missions in disaster zones in the past numerous times in
> conjunction with UN-OCHA. That is HOT's contact, I passed it on to you
> already.
> This is all HOT can do, except eagerly anticipate the imagery Fred's
> missions generate.
> Regards,
> Blake
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Nicolas Chavent
Projet OpenStreetMap (OSM)
Projet Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT)
Projet Espace OSM Francophone (EOF)
Mobile (FRA): +33 (0)6 52 40 78 20
Mobile (CIV): +225 78 12 76 99
<nicolas.chavent at hotosm.org>
Email: nicolas.chavent at gmail.com
Skype: c_nicolas
Twitter: nicolas_chavent
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