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As Great Wall of China Crumbles, Drones Deployed to the Rescue

According to National Geographic, as much as 30 percent of the wall "lies crumbling into ruins" as it is slowly reclaimed by the natural world.

Shantanu David | News18.com

Updated:November 26, 2018, 10:32 AM IST
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As Great Wall of China Crumbles, Drones Deployed to the Rescue
File photo of the Great Wall of China. (Image: Reuters)
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Drones: love em or hate em; they’re here to stay. From murdering terrorists (and innocent civilians) to shooting ‘lit’ wedding videos to endangering baby bears to delivering pizza, people have come up with a laundry list of things and activities that the flying remote-controlled devices can be used for, both good and bad. Now the Chinese have added data collection of inaccessible archaeological monuments.

The Great Wall of China, while not visible from space no matter what trivia tells you, is one of the most enduring monuments of the world’s most populous country and a testament to the craftsmanship and construction skills of its people. It’s also crumbling; given that some of its portions are over two thousand years old though, you can’t really insert a snide ‘Made in China’ joke here.

The structure is often thought to be one contiguous wall, but is actually a series of stone barricades built at different points of time in Chinese history; nonetheless it stretches across the vastness of the country, covering thousands of miles from Korea in the east to the Gobi Desert in the west.

According to National Geographic, as much as 30 percent of the wall "lies crumbling into ruins" as it is slowly reclaimed by the natural world.

Given the changing landscapes it traverses, with parts of it now inaccessible to human beings due to geographical changes and other anomalies, Chinese authorities have been struggling to map the extent of the damage as well as figure out which portions are salvageable and which are beyond redeeming.

Enter the drones.

The BBC recently published a video report, which showed how Chinese officials are using drones to map and measure remote sections of the wall, and to collect precise data on where and how to repair the crumbling edifice.

The country’s South China Morning Post has also reported that Intel's Falcon 8+ drones are being deployed to obtain "high-definition three dimensional images" of a deteriorating section of the wall, constructed during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), which sits less than a 100km north of Beijing.

With the help of these drone-captured images, Chinese architects and archaeologists hope to figure out how best to salvage the ancient structure.

It sure beats those annoying wedding videos.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat of the state Assemblies in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you put on the psephologist's hat. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections. Elections = News18)
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