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Christchurch, NZ Looking to Deploy Innovative Aerial Photography Tech

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New Zealand is currently seeking new and innovative, disruptive technology that will revolutionise the way Christchurch obtains aerial imagery. Aerial imagery technology will provide the Christchurch City Council with crucial information to make informed decisions on anything from air pollution to water level fluctuations to disaster management and recovery.

Aerial photography is used to assess and map landscape change, which is an important part of ecosystem management. Images collected from a great height above the earth are used to help people make better decisions about what should be done on the ground. To develop new methods to capture these images, the Christchurch Aerospace Challenge was established today and is being offered through a collaboration between ChristchurchNZ and the Christchurch City Council, with the University of Canterbury and a research organisation enthusiastically supporting it.

Christchurch City Councils of the Smart Christchurch Programme Manager stated the aerial technology currently available can be slow and costly. “Turnaround time between capturing the images and delivery can be anywhere between six to nine months and poor weather conditions can add further delays. We’re wanting to work with the innovative aerospace start-ups, businesses, and research that abound here in Christchurch, and across New Zealand, who could help us create an efficient, higher quality, timely and value-for-money solution.”

Applicants for the Aerospace Challenge must propose an idea that will revolutionise aerial imaging capturing hardware and software. Submissions must also allow for public access to data, be environmentally sustainable, and be capable of producing a prototype that can be optimised within the Challenge timeline, which is due on December 6.

In January 2022, a judging panel will choose four applications who will each get a $10,000 grant to build their proposal, which will subsequently assist in the design of a digital replica of Christchurch to be used for planning and advanced data analysis. “We’ve got an amazing depth and breadth of aerospace businesses and talent here in Christchurch. We want to tap into some of that expertise to help deliver technology that brings value for the whole city, while at the same time supporting the sector,” mentioned the ChristchurchNZ Business Attraction Manager

In addition, over the course of a weekend in April, the takiwaehere – New Zealand geospatial hackathon drew a lot of attention. This 24-hour event was hosted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) of New Zealand and a satellite imagery company to encourage students to develop new solutions using high-resolution satellite imagery and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to address pressing challenges. The hackathon is the first result of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was struck between MBIE and a firm that provides high-resolution satellite imagery.

The New Zealand Geospatial Hackathon, like many other government initiatives in New Zealand, has a Mori cultural name and meaning. TakiWaehere is a reimagining of the phrase hackathon that refers to a group of people (taki-) collaborating on a technical coding project (waehere).

As the geospatial market’s needs evolve, data products must evolve to provide more options that meet a broader range of needs. Technological progress is essential for the sector to stay up with changing needs while also providing new opportunities.

A report stated a technique known as photogrammetry (q.v.), which involves the simultaneous projection of the overlapping views, makes possible the preparation of contour maps or three-dimensional models of the terrestrial surface that has been photographed.

Valuable data on topography, geology, hydrology, soil and vegetation, meteorology, ocean currents, and fish resources have become accessible with the use of satellite technology and expert interpretation. Views of cloud patterns obtained from orbiting satellites are valuable in weather forecasting. Aerial photography also has vital military reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering applications.

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