Saint Lucia to benefit from data-driven planning and disaster mitigation initiatives

A contract for LIDAR data collection of Saint’s Lucia’s entire landmass and coastal zone was signed under the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project, DVRP, as one of the highlights of the World Bank’s project supervision mission from November 18-22, 2019.

Saint Lucia to benefit from data-driven planning and disaster mitigation initiatives
Saint Lucia to benefit from data-driven planning and disaster mitigation initiatives

Saint Lucia to benefit from data-driven planning and disaster mitigation initiatives

A contract for LIDAR data collection of Saint’s Lucia’s entire landmass and coastal zone was signed under the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project, DVRP, as one of the highlights of the World Bank’s project supervision mission from November 18-22, 2019.

LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing technology that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure variable distances to the Earth.

LIDAR data can be used to create high-resolution 3D models and maps of landscapes and environments and is being used in many countries to inform policymakers on how best to utilize scarce resources and better plan to protect citizens from the impacts of weather-related disasters.

In particular, for instance, LIDAR data can be applied to inform better land use planning, transportation and infrastructure planning, cellular network planning, agricultural planning, forestry and environmental management, tourism asset management, industry investments, flood modeling and adaptation to climate change.

The LIDAR contract is signed with Woolpert-GDS Joint Venture, and will be managed by the Department of Physical Planning.

“One of the benefits of having such data from LIDAR” says Hildreth Lewis, Deputy Permanent Secretary (DPS) in the Department of Physical Planning (DPP), “is that in combination with other data sets, it allows for the assessment of areas prone to natural hazards like flooding and landslides, as well as the tracking of the island’s coastline. Such information is useful for policies pertaining to land use and other issues of national development and disaster risk reduction.”

Supporting the Government of Saint Lucia with quality control during the contract’s duration, Supervising Consultant, Emese Landtwing, says “the information gathered from the DVRP-funded LIDAR project can be used in many different ways. For example, information derived from LIDAR can be used to identify areas that require more water or fertilizer and helps farmers save on their cost of labor, time, and money.”

The data presented by the LIDAR exercise will be useful for several other DVRP initiatives, including development of a Flash Flood Guidance System, sea-level rise modeling, flood modeling, and other measures geared towards mitigating the impact of climate change in Saint Lucia.

The LIDAR consultancy, which involves the use of special aircraft island-wide, is expected to culminate in September 2020.