Drones are finding their way into every profession and are widely being used around the world. However, some places still lack basic necessities and the concept of drone has not yet reached there. Villages and tribes in Africa are some of those remote places where civilization and urbanisation has just started to make its mark. A teenager from Taranaki decided to help the South Pacific Islands or the Solomon Islands using drones. Paul Short, aged 17, is using a drone aircraft to help people in Torah, a remote village in the Islands, get a new water system.
Paul is a teenage businessman from Taranaki and his drone is changing the way people live in Torah. This remote village has 300 people but only seven taps for all of them. Each tap fills a bucket in 3-4 minutes. This water supply was put in place by the New Zealand Army about 40 years ago, using galvanized steel pipes. He describes this system as very slow which takes up most of the time of the inhabitants.
“It’s amazing it’s lasted as long as it has, but the water system is in huge disrepair and is breaking down all the time. The pipe has been patched up with duct tape in places.” Paul said as he explained the poor state of the supply line. The young drone enthusiast started his business GoDrone NZ in 2014. He creates a 3D map of the village using his drone. This 3D map is an essential part in understanding the existing water lines and how to improve them. “You fly a drone in a grid pattern over the whole area, which is about 1 kilometre by 1km, and take about 1000 photos per square km. You put them all together and produce a 3D scan of the landscape that you can then use to plot where the water pipes are going to go and you can pull all your elevations and angles.” the teen said breaking down the process involved. After he collects all the images and forms a 3D map, he passes those images on to the water expert, Alastair Hodgkinson, who accompanied him on his trip to the village.
The village of Torah is an extremely remote area and to get there is a challenging task. Paul and his team landed on a small airstrip, remanent from the WWII, to get to the island. Short says that he’s been doing drone aid work for quite some time now. He also does aerial photography, videography, 3D mapping and he has also done drone repairs in New Zealand. Despite the harsh challenges faced by him, Paul is using drones to innovate the Solomon Islands one village at a time.