The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) has designated 1 July of each year as World Marine Aids to Navigation Day.
The Port Authority of the Balearic Islands (APB) has begun a pilot programme for the control and management of the public port domain by using state-of-the-art drones, with technical support offered by a specialist company. Trials have begun in the port of Alcudia, but the APB is planning to implement the service in the other ports of general interest which it manages, so long as any such action is in agreement with the current legislation regarding the airspace of each area.
This programme, an initiative led by the organisation unit of Quality, Environment and Innovation of the APB, offers numerous possibilities. Among other uses, flying drones enables a real-time and precise reading of the occupation level of public port domain. It can also help supervise the activities which are carried out on the premises of each port and perform environmental checks, among many other supervision functions. The drones offer an extremely accurate view of the port area, which is much better than that obtained at ground level.
During the pilot test, a programmed flight has been performed in the port once a week, led by a certified pilot who has all the required permits and authorisations. The programming of this flight is carried out depending on the quality and quantity of the information required, providing a total of 750 photos, resulting in an orthophotograph, which combines the details of a photograph with the geometric information of a map.
Therefore, the orthophotograph allows users to gain very precise measurements of the surface. All the information obtained is analysed, generating a calculation matrix which combines different parameters: occupation, patterns or detection of irregularities, among many other factors, allowing for the swift handling of any incident detected.
Drone Service 360 is the company hired by the APB to provide the technical assistance service for this project, which is considered to be pioneering and innovative, offering great potential development in the future. The specialised company provides the APB with the data and its interpretation in a very short space of time, therefore allowing the APB to take any corresponding actions as quickly as possible.
Adolfo Sastre, CEO/Engineer of Drone Service 360 considers that “the use of drones and the analysis of this information for the management of ports is a giant leap forward into the future for the Port Authority of the Balearic Islands, and our company is delighted to be part of such an innovative project”.