World Bank team undertakes rooftop inventory in Saint Lucia ahead of hurricane season

By ​​Department of Sustainable Development

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Sarah Aston and Joseph Mulhausen setting up the Trimble used to capture street-view imagery

(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – Earlier this month, the Department of Economic Development, Transport, and Civil Aviation through the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP), hosted a World Bank mission comprising a Geographic Information System (GIS) Expert and a Drone Expert.

The team was in Saint Lucia to undertake a rooftop inventory. Team member Sarah Antos, a Geographer stationed at the World Bank, revealed that the general assessment of roofs in the country is of paramount importance, given the forecast for stronger hurricanes due in large measure, to a change in the global climate.

“We’re here in Saint Lucia to collect data both from the street view as well as drones and combine this kind of imagery to determine the integrity and the quality of the structure against strong winds,” Antos said.

“In particular, we will be looking at the integrity of the roofs-the vulnerability of the roofs. We will be collecting characteristics such as age of the roof, height of the roof, slant of the roof—all these types of attributes we gather to predict how vulnerable the structure is to strong wind events like hurricanes. Once we collect all this data, we will be using it and comparing it to some of the data that has been collected in Dominica, which is a pre and post disaster damage assessment. So we will be learning from their experience and trying to predict the vulnerability and strength of the roof tops here in Saint Lucia.”

The rooftop and street view inventory, allows for synergies and collaboration. Such cooperation will lead to achieving the objectives of creating and sharing of disaster risk reduction and climate change information through open platforms and will allow for improved decision making. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Specialist, with the World Bank, Joseph Mulhausen, explained the data processing procedure.

“Once we gather all the data, it will be processed on a pretty powerful computer. The first steps are automated. A map will be generated for each area. Once we get the maps, we’re going to begin to analyze them. This will probably take a couple of weeks before we get any significant results. The results will provide us with critical information which will help the government and people of Saint Lucia determine which roof systems are best able to withstand hurricane-strength winds like those experienced recently in Dominica,” Mulhausen said.

The data collected during the mission will be uploaded to an Open Data Portal.
Whilst on island, the team also offered a five-day GIS training to personnel from the Ministry of Finance, the Department of Physical Planning, and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).

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