4-Minute Read

Point Clouds for Disaster Recovery

Published April 11, 2022
Point Clouds in Disaster Recovery

Disasters are unfortunate that result to loss of lives and property. Over human history, these events have stunted the growth of civilizations and cities. Fortunately, emerging technology is available to aid in mitigating them. In this article, we will take a look at the potential of point clouds for disaster recovery and rehabilitation.

What are Disasters?

Before diving deep into modern systems, we must first define disasters. This is any type of disturbance towards a community’s normal function that hinders capability to cope. There are two types of disasters: man-made and natural.

Point Clouds in Disaster Recovery

Man-made disasters, as the name suggests, are disruptions brought forth by human activity. Simply stated, these inflict damage through human means to human recipients. Common cases of man-made disasters include chemical hazards, road accidents, and pollution. It is safe to assume that proper preparation and education can mitigate such events.

On the other hand, natural disasters are phenomena brought by nature. The sources include: solid earth, water movement, climate, weather, and living organisms. Such activities may even cause a huge shift in the terrain of a specific region. In the worst case, homes and communities that are prone to disasters are greatly devastated.

Disaster Recovery

To cope up with a harsh disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, or flooding, disaster recovery has to happen. It is the act of responding to an event that negatively affects the community. Disaster recovery is part of risk management and reduction and has two parts: In-depth analysis and Response. Together, they help in reducing difficulties in rehabilitation.

In-depth analysis makes use of informed research and inspections in the aftermath of the event. These include human experiences, statistics, and financial damages incurred. In the worst cases, authorities undergo structural and community surveys to see the extent of destruction. However, manually doing such activity leads to errors and slow processes.

Disaster Research

Response utilizes data gathered during the analysis to create informed decisions. The result is a fast-acting rehabilitation that tackles psychological, mental, physical, and structural damage. To do this effectively, the analyzed data must be efficient and shareable.

Use of Point Clouds

As the need for quick disaster-solution grows, technology also catches up to the demand. With the help of point cloud, authorities determine the next steps towards recovery. This is how point cloud helps in disaster management:

Instant Deployment

One of the benefits of point cloud and LiDAR data is quick data gathering. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, drones can be swiftly sent to the site to scan for changes in terrain. Not only that, but weeks of survey hindered by blockages will turn to mere hours using aerial capture.

Drone LiDARs

Remove Hazards

A clear challenge in disaster response are hazards that appear on the site. This might endanger personnel in the field and add more problems. With the power of point cloud, such hazards are easily removed. Drones can reach tight and steep areas without any issues; improving survey efficiency and speed.


Whenever manual execution is involved, human-induced errors are bound to happen. However, point cloud reduces this risk as it relies on automated systems for both scanning and processing. The result is reliable information that is immediately usable.

Point Clouds Hazards

Shareable Data

A feature that places point clouds as an unbeatable candidate in disaster surveys is shareable data. Since a 3D representation of the area is created, the output has data-sharing capabilities towards other units. This means that a surveyor on the site will be able to relay data to the response units in the central office for smooth communication.

Shareable Data
Web-Based, High-Accuracy Point Cloud Processing.
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