Eye in the sky

Drones open new perspectives within risk management.

It is summer, but it is pouring down with rain. Heavy rainfall, surface water and flooding create problems in towns and urban areas.

At the Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo, cultural treasures have been affected by large volumes of water and flooding for two years in a row. Even though heavy rainfall and weather changes have been subject to much attention in Norway and the rest of the Nordic region in recent years, water, as an unwelcome visitor, is nothing new to the museum. Water has been a regular guest over the decades.

What measures can be implemented to minimise the risk of water that yet again threatens historical  buildings and artefacts that are irreplaceable?

The Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo has problems with heavy rainfall. If’s drone group has made a 3D-model of the Museum.

In collaboration with the museum, If's new drone group is thoroughly assessing the museum area square metre by square metre. A drone is flying steadily in a coordinate system above the museum's stave church, courtyard with timbered houses and old apartment buildings. The data collected by the drone will be used to create an advanced 3D model of the area. The model may be able to provide some answers regarding which measures are required to tackle heavy rainfall in the future.

"We've only just started using drones at If and are currently in a phase in which we are focusing on experimenting with new areas of application, developing our expertise and gaining experience," explains Cathrine Fjeld Ytreberg, head of If's drone group. In her daily work, she works on solutions for mapping and handling property damage at companies and industrial enterprises.

Drones used both before and after damage has occured

No one at If is a full-time drone pilot, but this could happen one day. This is because drones can be used in so many areas, both before and after damage has occurred. The Nordic drone group includes employees working with risk management, claims processing and investigations in the private, business and industrial market.

"It's not just films and photographs from a bird's-eye view that can be useful in the work to prevent damage," explains drone pilot Tor Arne Breivikås from If's investigation department. "We can install other sensors on the drone to measure, for example, the presence of gas or take photographs and films with thermographic or infra-red cameras. And, not least, we can create 3D maps and models simply by flying over an area.

Dangerous to enter - use drones

This paves the way for looking at areas in which it may be dangerous to enter. We have used this type of mapping following a major landslide. In this instance it was possible to take surveys and calculate the mass volume safely, all based on images and data from the drone," says Breivikås.

In an incident that is unfolding, like a flood, forest fire or landslide, drones can provide insight that enables the implementation of damage-limiting measures on the spot. Drone pilot Johan Lunde Wilman adds: "In a few years, we may be using small drones indoors, for example, in production halls, in which it could be useful to have a good overview from a high perspective. We have actually already started experimenting with indoor flights," he says.

Drones are currently being used all over the world in risk-management work – by everyone from contractors to energy companies. Skilled drone pilots fly over large industrial plants, bridges and power lines, in order to detect weaknesses at an early stage and prevent damage.

Cathrine Fjeld Ytreberg believes that the data and visual material collected by If's drone pilots in risk management work will provide useful insight for If's industrial clients.

Article by

Sigmund Clementz photo

Sigmund Clementz

Communications, If