Draubuta Village Landslide: Relocation Assist

USP-NDMO collaboration, 3-5th July 2019

The National Disaster Management Office of Fiji (NDMO) together with the University of the South Pacific have recently embarked in talks that will create collaboration with certain disaster response exercises and activities in the near future. As we all have come to know of by now, the NDMO was established and also is responsible for the co-ordination of Fiji Government in times of Natural Disasters. As a result of this collaboration and under the request of NDMO, the University of the South Pacific’s drone capability was required to assist in the imagery capture of Draubuta village. Draubuta village which is located in the highlands of Navosa almost at the center of Viti Levu recently became a victim of a massive sand and gravel avalanche which was a result of more than three weeks of continuous rainfall. The landslide had forced 13 families to be evicted from their homes.


The purpose of the exercise is to aid the Disaster Risk Reductions(DRR) Officers from NDMO with:

  • Digital Elevation Models (DEM)
  • Contours
  • Orthomosaics.

These would then aid the DRR officers along with other government officials in assessing the safety of the new relocation site and other potential sites that may be in the village.

UAV’s Used:

  •  SenseFly eBee Fixed wing Drone
  • DJI Phantom 4
  • DJI Inspire 2


Study on Capabilities of drones to assess forest degradation and biomass loss in Nakavu Forest.

(Ongoing project) by Semisi Ketenilagi


  • develop a framework for the use of UAV’s for the assessment of forest degradation on a national scale
Study Area: 
Nakavu forest in the province of Namosi located at about 9 kilometers from Navua, a town which is 45 kilometers from the capital Suva on the Southeast coast of Viti Levu. 
Nakavu Forest is a dense mixed-evergreen rain forest with an upper canopy height of about . Dominant tree species include kaudamu (Myristica spp.), yasiyasi (Syzygium/Cleistocalyx spp.), sacau (Palaquim spp.), damanu (Calophyllum spp.), laubu (Garcinia spp.), kaunicina (Canarium spp.), kaunigai (Haplolobus spp.) and mavota (Gonystylus s p.).Nakavu Forest is representative of the mixedevergreen forest type found throughout much of Fiji. This site encompasses 12 different logging compartments with compartment area ranging from 40 acres to 95 acres. The total Nakavu Forestry Area is about 766 Acres. Nakavu Forests is managed by Fiji Forestry Department entity and Nakavu villagers. 27 meters p Forest management activities are limited to selective logging.  

UAVs Used:

  • The DJI Inspire 2 mounted with Zenmuse X4s camera multi-rotor drone was used to capture high resolution images that was later transformed into orthomosaics and Digital Surface Models (DSM). This drone does not have the capability to cover large areas as compared to the Sensefly Fixed wing but it was able to focus on specific areas to create more accurate DSM’s for further analysis. 
  • The Sensefly eBee Fixed wing is a fully autonomous and easy to use mapping drone deployed to capture high resolution aerial photos over larger areas. 



3D View of Toga Village generated in Pix4D

For the villagers of Toga in Fiji, having their homes and belonging submerged by flood waters is a regular occurrence. Bounded by the Rewa River, Fiji’s widest river that flows from the central highlands to the southeast, the villagers of Toga are prey to the destructive floodwaters. Tropical cyclones and heavy rainfall events exacerbated by high tides are major factors that create a cradle of helplessness among the villagers as there is not much to do but to save whatever that can be spared.

This project was significant as the idea was generated by USP Geospatial Science students based on their earlier experiences in the PTC Tradition and Technology project. This clearly exhibits the empowerment the project has engendered within the Fijian youths to identify problems and implement solutions using ICT in a traditional setting. The students involved in the project took part in assessing flood risk based on digital terrain models derived from drone digital surface models tied to the Fiji Map Grid and height datum. They concluded that flooding in their general vicinity was inevitable and the solutions to flooding would require critical engineering works.

Students also identified [that] the tributaries were blocked and hence acted as a reservoir for rainwater breaching the mouth of the tributary to elevating the impact of flooding. The students generated a flood risk model through the use of Geographic Information Systems software. Although modelling the real world is never a perfect process, the model clearly demonstrated how floods are a real problem that exists for the villagers of Koro Toga.

The students further identified threats to food resources in the village and hence developed the concept of village profiling, which is a new direction of research for the Geospatial Science Unit at The University of the South Pacific.


by Tevita Makameone Fifita


  • This project will determine whether GIS applications & high precision survey graded RTK GPS, Total station combine with UAV’s techniques of field data collection will yield a high quality data for spatial analysis and mapping purposes.
  • It can also project the capabilities and potential uses of each equipment, techniques and method of GIS data collection.
  • Weaving together knowledge and skills gain during this 3 years term doing Geospatial Science @ USP (2015 – 2017)
  • Statistical analysis of Coordinates & Elevation (X, Y, Y)
  • 2D and 3D Map production
  • High Terrain – 12 Hall New construction
  • Successfully complete project on timely manner prior to delivery date


Aerial Image of study site
Digital Elevation Model

Academic Projects