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Lagos sends unmanned aerial vehicles after criminals

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By Gabriel Olawale

Lagos is the commercial hub of Nigeria and one of the most populous cities in Africa. It is estimated that over 21 million people live and work in Lagos State despite its size.

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In 2017, the state’s output was $136bn, more than a third of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product.

It serves as the nation’s financial capital, hosts the biggest factories and generates the biggest revenue. Its economy is rated as Africa’s fifth largest, bigger than Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya, two of the continent’s most promising economies.

Also, due to a steady influx of people from neighbouring states and countries, its population is projected to hit 32.6 million by 2050, becoming the world’s sixth-largest city in the next 30 years, according to Global Cities Institute at the University of Toronto.

Despite this status, the state has a high proportion of residents living in flood-prone areas. Lagos is an island of various sizes of water bodies. There are lagoons and beaches scattered around the city. This makes the state naturally susceptible to flooding.

The need for adequate and decent housing is now part of the central focus and an integral component in national strategies for growth and poverty reduction. But the Lagos experiences challenges in that regard.

Tiguar S-410 UAVs

To address some of these challenges, the Lagos State government recently acquired two Tiguar S-410 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs, and ancillary equipment to carry out civilian mapping operation.

Speaking on the capacity of this sophisticated equipment, in a chat, Commissioner for Science and Technology in the state, Mr. Hakeem Fahm, said the machine is a major component of Lagos Enterprise GIS Upgrade and the Integrated Land Administration Automation Systems. He said it aims at providing a digital mapping platform. Fahm, explains the essence of the project thus:

Essence of project

“Lagos Enterprise GIS Upgrade and the Integrated Land Administration Automation Systems project aimed to provide a digital mapping of Lagos State. It gives us a high will to assist our state in terms of long term planning. Once we have that, there is a whole lot we can do with it. It will help us in planning and processing land information, it will help to identify different structures like hospitals, schools, and houses that are likely to collapse.

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Aside from that, it helps to plan adequately for flooding, search and rescue operations, and other disaster management activities. It can be used to monitor the movement of water from one place to another. It can assist in planning erosion prevention.

The information generated with this project will help in identifying areas available for agricultural activities in the state, estate planning, and road construction among others.

Tiguar S-410 UAV

“Tiguar S-410 is in the form of a drone but operates exactly like an aeroplane. It gets necessary clearance to fly the same way as aeroplane and receives signals in the same manner. Drones fly very low compared to manned aircraft. 409 feet is its typical attitude. Turnaround time is a few hours instead of days, weeks, or months in the case of traditional delivery times.

Since it is a civilian mapping operation, it can stay on the air for six hours. It has a hybrid engine and powered by specialised petrol and battery. It is so fuel efficient that it uses one litre per hour. It has a state-of-art camera that can do the digital mapping and photography of Lagos State correctly.

“The information generated by this equipment will help us in planning population growth, housing growth, and transportation across the city. It can also give us other kinds of indices that we need. This aircraft is also linked directly to all our continuous operating reference stations in all divisions across the state so that when Tiguar S-410 is on air it will be speaking to all the machines to be able to get accurate information. This particular equipment is the first in Nigeria and Sub- Saharan Africa.

On Google mapping

“We need to understand that Lagos State is not Google’s priority and the best special resolution of any image that Google has for Lagos is 30 centimetres. That cannot solve land administration matters in Lagos State. The first attempt was made in 2010 when we had the whole geography of Lagos covered by autophoto. We also need to realise that hiring an aircraft is very expensive and not something we can be doing frequently.

“Between 2010 and now, a lot of developments have taken place. We now have the link bridge and several shopping malls among others which were not captured then. So we need sophisticated equipment like Tiguar S-410 to capture Lagos in 3D in such a way that we will be able to see the length, breadth, and height of a building.

The Lagos State government decided that our destiny should be in our hands and also believes so much in building local capacity. Some of our staff members have acquired intensive skills in the area of operation and maintenance.

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Benefits

“By having area mapping of the state, other applications will be feeding on the imagery generated such as the Integrated Land Administration, and e-Survey among others. This development will take us a long way in resolving most of the outstanding land-related disputes, assist in turnaround time of land registration and improve the ease of doing business.

Vanguard

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