Finland, Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Storm damage in Finland documented by digital aerial photos from Blom

When heavy storms hit the Nordic countries during the Christmas holidays of December 2011, Blom rapidly mobilized aircraft fitted with digital cameras to document the damages. The mobilization was done on request from the National Land Survey in Finland.

“This is a good example of how modern mapping equipment and rapid workflows can be used for new tasks and in different weather conditions than traditionally associated with mapping”, says Håkon Andresen, Director for Business Development in Blom Nordic. “Snow on the ground, longer shadows, less favorable light and challenging weather conditions are handled by our experienced operators making use of the latest technological developments”, he explains.

Recent technological developments make it possible to fly, produce and deliver this kind of projects within a few days after the disaster has taken place. “Fast execution and delivery is critical for our customers and we constantly push ourselves to deliver images and the derived products faster than before”, says Lasse Turunen, Product Manager for Forest Services in Blom in Finland. Lasse continues: “With the need for rapid and updated Geographical Information steadily increasing, Blom is keen on developing these market opportunities in close cooperation with our partners and customers”.

The imagery was photographed with a resolution of 32 cm (GSD) from a flying altitude of 5,300 meters. The images contain both normal colors (24-bit RGB) and the usual infrared information that is commonly used in forestry projects. The project area covered a total 1,620 km2, of which about 90,000 ha is covered by forest. The Finnish Forest center and The Finnish Forest Research Institute have developed methods to estimate the amount of forest damages. The damages are still being evaluated but the current estimates report up to 189,000 m3 of storm felled volume. In total, about 5 percent of the forested area in the project area was damaged. It is evaluated that felling volume across the whole of Finland was 2,000,000 m3. In financial terms, this means that forest with a sales value of 50 – 70 MEUR fell during the storms on the 26th and 27th December 2011.

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