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APDER in Action & Equipment

This page contains information about APDER interventions mechanism, activities and equipment used.

APDER's Equipment  - Blimps & Drones

Vídeo Demo - Views from the Blimp

APDER uses 3 meters (9 ft) length blimp, filled with heliumWhile hydrogen gas is approx. 7% more buoyant, helium has the advantage of being non-flammable (in addition to being fire retardant)The system can be assembled quickly and is in the air in a matter of minutes: the balloon is launched, attached to a special reinforced tether line and photos can be taken from 0 ft to 3.000 ft (1.000 m.), depending on the country's legislation. 

Actual System:

The equipment currently used by APDER is a captive helium blimps, 3m. long by 1.9 m diameter.
The remote controlled robot is placed below the balloon and can be equipped with different cameras (Canon G10, G11, S80, etc.).

The camera´s view is displayed on a LCD-Screen on the ground and videos and photos can be captured as preferred. The Zoom can be used to capture detailed areas. 
The camera is steered manually via the robot with the remote control. In Emergency Situations the video signal can be transmitted in real time to a near Coordination or Crisis Operation Centre

The Robot enables a 360 degrees horizontal rotation and from 90 to 180 degrees vertical rotation of the camera. The camera is installed below the blimp (balloon) and controlled from the ground by radio control.

Depending on the Camera installed the image-format varies. The camera used by APDER actually produces images in jpeg with a 180 dpi resolution to 3,264 x 2,448 pixels size.

2 types of photos can be taken: horizontal and panoramic photos:
Horizontal pictures which are taken at 90 degrees provide a flat view similar to Satellite images usually produced. The perimeter of the optical range is related to the hight: radius is equivalent to hight. The resolution of the photos produced is normally higher than unprocessed Satellites images.
Panoramic pictures allow a 3D impression of the view. They can be taken at different angles -from 90 to 180 degrees- and later assembled with software. The hight of the camera does not limit the optical range (Remote Sensing) but is depending on the kind of acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon of interest.
The informations extracted from those images are mostly structural and therefore ideal for all users who need immediate and cost effective information about structure of buildings (Example: Urban Search and Rescue Team after earthquakes) or topographic conditions. 

Transmission Range of the signal is related to technical infrastructures such as repeaters or modem available. The direct signal sent from the source to the receiver depends on the environment in terms of signals interferences. 

The duration of operational time of the balloon in the air is conditioned by the battery of the camera. Once the battery is out, the team brings down the balloon (matter of minutes) and change it. 
The balloon itself can stay up for several days.

In the near future it is foreseen that APDER will also have drones available. 

Mobilization and Deployment Methodology in Emergencies

APDER is connected to National or International Emergency Coordination Mechanism such as EU MIC (European Union Monitoring and Information Center), UNDAC/OCHA (United Nations Disaster Assessment and Information Team) or FACT (Field Assessment and Coordination Team of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement). It is envisaged that APDER due to increasing credibility and coordination with national and international coordination bodies will be part of the International Disaster Response Mechanism.

In case of a disaster, members of the APDER Pool receive an alarm in form of an SMS and email to report her or his availability. The team is composed according to the needs and in line with the requirements of national and international coordination bodies. First talks have been held with Donors representatives for APDER to be integrated in their Activation Mechanism. Depending on conditions such as transport capacity, meteorological conditions etc., the deployment of an APDER Team in 24-48 hours is feasible.

Participation in Exercises

APDERs first testing took place in 2010, participating in an exercise as part of a training of the Modules Basic Courses within the framework of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Flooding in the region of Barcelona was the scenario and the participants had the task to plan a Base Camp on a parking site for the EUMIC-Team and other incoming international teams. Beforehand they were told that they could use the services of APDER-Photos for camp site planning purposes. Here the outcomes…

APDER Testing during a training of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism

Through this training and exercise, ADPER improved its perception and understanding on how Aerial Imagery and its processing can support a field operation.
In the context of this activity, APDER Staff explained the potentials and limits of Aerial Photos for humanitarian purposes. A very positive side effect of this exercise was that the APDER Team could gain an even deeper understanding on actual user needs and could share a work experience on the ground with the relief working teams.

Field Mission in project

APDER is actually planning a “Technical Exercice for Humanitarian Crisis Response” in HAITI with various humanitarian organisations and their partners such as UN Habitat and the International Red Cross. This assignment will not be part of a simulation but will be realised on site for humanitarian purposes.

The purpose of the mission will be transferring knowledge about the services, the products, the processes and the techniques from project side to the user side. 

The Team envisages to leave in the coming month.