Drone tours Napa earthquake damage

A quadcopter's close aerial footage of the destruction caused by this week's 6.0 California earthquake in wine country shows the potential of drones in disaster areas.

The results of the Napa earthquake from a drone's point of view. Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

We've seen breathtaking quadcopter footage of ice caves, an active volcano, and Niagara Falls -- but this footage of the damage done by the recent 6.0 Northern California earthquake shows a very different kind of tour.

The August 24 earthquake in wine country has been measured by social media and fitness bracelets, so why not a quadcopter drone equipped with a DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ ?

The drone video, made and posted on YouTube by Evan Kilkus, captures aerial clips giving a unique view of the major damage in downtown Napa. The drone captures almost 7 minutes of sweeping footage documenting earthquake damage to the Napa County Court House, a post office, a wine bar, various homes, and a church.

"This video is intended for educational purposes to show builders and building owners across the world the results of this earthquake," Kilkus wrote in the video's description. "It's worth noting, fortunately, most homes and commercial buildings do not appear to have suffered structural damage, with the exception of brick chimneys."

Even the Justice building isn't safe from Mother Nature. Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

"This video is also intended to show how a quadcopter drone can be used to help identify hazards and asses damage in this situation," Kilkus added.

In the video, various pedestrians and Napa residents can be seen pointing at the drone and taking photos of it as it flies by.

"I was very cautious while flying this quadcopter," Kilkus wrote. "I did not fly over any large crowds, and kept the device close to me at all times to maximize my control. Of the 300-400 people around me during the 5 hours of off and on filming, not a single person objected to its use, and many people were fascinated by the tool."

Featured Video

Why do so many of us still buy cars with off-road abilities?

Cities are full of cars like the Subaru XV that can drive off-road but will never see any challenging terrain. What drives us to buy cars with these abilities when we don't really need them most of the time?

by Drew Stearne