Northern Plains UAS Check Website Flood Restoration

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Northern Plains UAS Test Site Utilizes Vantis, Grand Sky for Emergency Response Efforts

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

In response to Gov. Doug Burgum’s emergency declaration for spring flooding, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) has begun preparations to support statewide emergency relief efforts.

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The NPUASTS manages Vantis, North Dakota’s unmanned aircraft system (UAS) beyond visual line of site network at the Grand Sky Business Park near Grand Forks. The NPUASTS will provide assistance with recovery efforts via flood level monitoring, community awareness tools and a 24/7 Mission Network and Operations Center (MNOC).

Drones will be deployed to monitor flood levels, melt rate and ice jams, and flights will be coordinated with emergency response personnel to provide real-time information. Flight imagery and video footage will also be made available for public viewing. A complete flood risk report will be made available at www.grandforksgov.com, keeping the community updated with the latest information.

“With Vantis, we’re supporting continuity in the state’s emergency response,” said Erin Roesler, Director of Operations and the Vantis Program Executive. “It’s important that we recognize the state has this incredible platform in Vantis that will play an enormous role in the coordination of regional and, someday, state emergency preparedness plans.”

This is not the first time Vantis has served as a resource for emergency responders. Last April, citizens in western North Dakota were left without power when heavy snow and ice damaged utility infrastructure. With Vantis, the state was able to deploy drones to survey electrical infrastructure in rural areas, identify damages, and assist with prioritizing resources for repairs and recovery. As a result, the electric cooperative engineers were able to more effectively assess damage and plan repairs, especially within areas rendered inaccessible by heavy snowfalls or dangerous road conditions.

“As experienced flood fighters, North Dakotans are always looking for new and better solutions to the flooding challenges faced by our citizens and communities, and the state’s significant investment in UAS gives us an innovative tool to help protect people and property,” Burgum said. “Providing real-time perspective and data collection from the skies will help our flood-related efforts on the ground, and we’re grateful to the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, Vantis, Grand Sky and the MNOC for coordinating and deploying state-of – the art resources.”

Vantis grants innovative, comprehensive support to commercial and public UAS operators via physical and digital infrastructure and regulatory approvals, rendering drone operation both simpler and safer. Grand Sky enables an ecosystem of public and private UAS operators ready for emergency response.

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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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