Progress report

From the 23rd of February to the 5th of March a delegation from the Departament of Architecture and Design (Filiberto Chiabrando and Alessio Calantropio) and the Department of Environment, Land and Infrastrutcture Engineering (Andrea Lingua and Paolo Maschio) have been to Malawi for the first UP4DREAM Project.


Politecnico di Torino conducted a capacity building exercise to students of the ADDA (The African Drone and Data Academy). As part of the capacity building exercise, Politecnico di Torino  conducted a training session on the use of AGISOFT METASHAPE software for drone imagery processing, setting up of ground control points to enhance the accuracy levels of the acquired drone imagery, as well as support ADDA with the structural development of their academic curricula most especially around drone imagery acquisition/processing. Activities have been also carried outside the class, with the acquisition of GCPs, the flight plan design and execution, both with fixed wing and multirotor UAV.

AMAZON colleagues hosted a session where they trained on how to use the Snowball edge computers to batch process drone imageries. The team is still in touch with the Amazon colleagues to provide technical support as we run along with the use of their equipment.

Another capacity building workshop has been organized with partners from the Academia (Malawi University of Science and Technology, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MZUZU University) as well as 4 colleagues from DODMA (Department of Disaster Management Affairs), COPI (Cooperazione Internazionale) and with the UNICEF staff. The outcome of the capacity building exercise was quite satisfactory as it was a good learning experience for all parties involved in the exercise. Colleagues from the academia, ADDA, DODMA and expressed satisfaction with the exercise and even requested for more of similar exercise’s in the nearest future.

A part of the project activities has been focused on testing data acquisition on a limited area of the corridor with the partner Swop Aero. A two days exercise has been performed in the Nsanje district, an area in the south of the country that is flood-prone and has been heavily affected by flooding in the 2019. Big flooding events in that area are recurrent (every 5 years), and the activities performed on the field aims also to provide support for the emergency preparedness and response before the next disaster is expected. The company, who won a commercial tender and is currently working in the corridor on behalf of UNICEF Malawi, is expected to run organized and automated drone mapping missions in order to acquire large amounts of aerial data, suitable for post-processing with a photogrammetry software which will then be used for further analysis for various multiple applications that, apart from flood modelling, will include mosquito breeding site identification, watershed monitoring, and similar.

Thanks to the ISPRS support, Politecnico di Torino donated 2 units of GNSS survey equipment’s to UNICEF Malawi. Agisoft Metashape issued one-year software licenses for continuing with the activities of the project. Amazon, on the other hand, donated 3 units of their world class ruggedized supercomputer (Amazon Snowball edge) to UNICEF Malawi. The device will be used by for processing of large sized drone imagery, storage of the imagery as well as sharing the processed file(s) to hosted cloud server. This in turn, will support UNICEF’s programmatic efforts, most especially around the flood modelling project and the planned mosquito breeding sites mapping.

Future steps

Moving forward, a few areas of future collaboration were outlined: Researchers exchange are expected and colleagues from the Academia indicated interest in possible exchange programmes with Politecnico di Torino. Therefore, MoU with interested partner will be signed in order to explore the possibility of staff exchange as well as publishing joint academic papers in international journals. 

Future plans include the organization of one-week training activities; we explored the option of having another capacity building exercise maybe online or a future visit. Politecnico is also willing to continue to support ADDA on the development of their academic curricula with regards to drone imagery acquisition, processing & use. Possibilities of collaborations will be also investigated with Virginia Tech (the academic UNICEF partner in the ADDA project). Politecnico will provide also scientific support to the selected entity for the flood modelling project.

The project partners are exploring, as a possibility, ways to support Malawi Government on development of a national GIS Platform, as well as explore the use of geomatics for automated & precision agriculture to improve crop yields).

Possible sources of funding will be explored, in order to improve Capacity Building activities, (External sponsors as well as internal funding) World Bank, WFP, Politecnico, UN, UNICEF, private organizations). Therefore, the allocated funds will also serve as seed investment to attract local and international companies or donors who wants to contribute to the project.

Press and social media dissemination



UAV Photogrammetry for Developing Resilience and Educational Activities in Malawi is a cooperative project between the Polytechnic University…

SBS Italian


Up4Dream, Progetto del Politecnico di Torino in collaborazione con Unicef per consegna di medicinali con l’uso di droni…



Our colleagues of LabG4CH and DAD Polito – Dip. Architettura e Design and DIATI Polito – Dip. Ingegneria dell’Ambiente, Territorio e Infrastrutture…



Una delegazione dell’Ateneo in visita in Malawi per il lancio di un progetto di cartografia a supporto delle consegne di vaccini e medicinali con i droni…



L’Africa è per il Politecnico un’area di interesse strategico: l’obiettivo dell’Ateneo è infatti quello di consolidare la propria presenza…



L’Africa è un’area di interesse strategico per il Politecnico di Torino, che ha l’obiettivo di consolidare la propria presenza nel continente con azioni…



A group of researchers from @dad.polito and @diatipolito are in Malawi for #UP4DREAM, a project of international cooperation…



News from UP4DREAM activities ongoing in Malawi



UP4DREAM: il progetto di International Cooperation & Capacity Building del Politecnico di Torino in collaborazione con UNICEF Malawi



L’Africa è per il Politecnico un’area di interesse strategico. Con l’obiettivo di consolidare la sua presenza nel continente con azioni orientate alla Ricerca e al Trasferimento Tecnologico…

Research Gate


UAV Photogrammetry for Developing Resilience and Educational Activities in Malawi is a cooperative project between the Polytechnic University…