Drone's-eye view of flood damage helps crews tackling repairs

New technology is being used in western Newfoundland to create a fuller picture of damage caused by the weekend's flooding.

3-dimensional model helps accurate assessment of work, materials

Flooding washed away this section of road at Rattler Brook on Saturday. (Submitted by Resource Innovations)

New technology is being used in western Newfoundland to create a fuller picture of damage caused by the weekend's flooding.

A Corner Brook consulting company, Resource Innovations, is coupling the power of geographic information systems and aerial drones.

'Mind-boggling' damage

Mapping manager Adrian Ricketts says the combination shows just how "mind-boggling" the damage was at Little Rapids, just east of Corner Brook.

"When you stand on the ground and have a look, you can see, yeah, there's a hole in the ground but when you get up in the air and see the actual length of destruction, it's pretty severe."

Aerial views of the flooding damage — including here at Little Rapids — can help provide repair crews better data in assessing work that needs to be done. (Submitted by Resource Innovations)

Elevation was also important in assessing the damage at Rattler Brook, on the south shore of the Bay of Islands.

​"The amount of gravel and sediment and the amount of stuff that's washed away is absolutely extreme," he said. "When we got up in the air, again, it was to get a sense of scales. It's not even explainable until you actually see it."

The elevated view helps repair crews get a better sense of what's needed for the work, he said, through three-dimensional models of the area.

Adrian Ricketts of Resource Innovations says the destruction caused by Saturday's flooding is the worst he's ever seen. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

"When we take the data back and we actually do some additional analysis in a mapping environment, what we can do is actually measure the amount of fill required, or the amount of change," he said.

I haven't seen this amount of destruction, the amount of flooding — it's unreal.- Adrian Ricketts

While he's glad to be providing a service that's helping get the roads repaired, Ricketts said he's bothered by the amount of damage, which he said is the worst he's seen.

"I'm a snowmobiler and a skier as well so to see this amount of destruction, it's disappointing when you look at Marble [Mountain]," he said. "I haven't seen this amount of destruction, the amount of flooding — it's unreal."

With files from Anthony Germain