Researchers map New Zealand landslides with satellites, drones, helicopters, hiking boots

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A University of Michigan-led team of geologists and engineers is mapping surface ruptures and some of the tens of thousands of landslides triggered by last month’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake in New Zealand.

The U-M-led team includes a researcher from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Working in collaboration with scientists from New Zealand’s GNS Science and the U.S. Geological Survey, they will combine observations collected by satellites, drones, helicopters and on foot to create what is expected to be the largest inventory of earthquake-triggered , according to team leader and U-M geologist Marin Clark.

The high-resolution digital topographic maps the researchers create will help response teams in New Zealand determine which landslides pose the greatest threat for future sliding and for river damming that can lead to catastrophic flooding. The project is also viewed as a training exercise for future large earthquakes anticipated in places like Southern California.

Europe plans to have drone rules in place by 2019

The EU says fragmented drone rules between countries hampers innovation.

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The European Union doesn’t want to fall behind on drones, which could bring in billions in euros to its member states.

The EU’s commission for developing a European air traffic control system said on Friday that its goal is to have rules for the safe operation of autonomous drones ready by 2019.

Ultimately, the EU says that it wants to create a traffic management system for unmanned drones that’s similar to air traffic control for manned planes.