Respond quickly and be certain about the ground conditions.
Armed with up to date information, you'll be able to avoid danger and direct resources where they're needed with confidence that you're making good decisions when there's a lot on the line and little time for planning. For emergency response, peacekeeping, humanitarian aid & disaster relief, aerial surveillance is the best way to stay on top of a quickly developing situation.
Air photos provide valuable information about current and historical conditions in an area, when combined with elevation models, can be used to reliably predict where emergencies such as widespread flooding will occur in the future. Wild weather and flooding is an increasing problem shared around the world, even in our own backyard as was seen in summer 2013 in Toronto and Calgary. Armed with information highlighting the most vulnerable areas, preparation and early intervention can be focused in the right places for similar crisis that are somewhat predictable.
Not just for widespread disasters, but also small scale emergency responders such as fire, police and EMS benefit greatly from accurate mapping, particularly current air photo and street level mapping which can be called up to bring to light details about a property such as locations of lane ways and outbuildings that would not normally be included in traditional mapping.
Where conditions on the ground are in constant change, as is the case with unpredictable phenomena such as forest fires or tornadoes it’s essential to have detailed, up to date information about access points and barriers into affected regions after a natural disaster. Informed, coordinated decisions benefit both the relief workers and the victims involved to deploy limited resources in a timely way to areas most in need. A well directed and adequate response in such situations is absolutely necessary to mitigate the loss of life and property. Aerial imagery is an excellent option to understand the scope of the disaster, assist with direct decision making where the usual means of assessing an area may be unavailable, unreliable, and access to an affected area is cut off. Aircraft can be deployed quickly, but in some dangerous situations where observation resources are limited, satellite can be called upon to provide imagery in a matter of hours after the emergency strikes, quickly revealing current conditions, including ongoing surveillance as the situation progresses.