A topographical sensor is being used as part of a project by scientists to map the disaster zone in Port-au-Prince, Haiti following the recent earthquake.
The initiative, led by researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in collaboration with aerial mapping company Kucera International, aims to collect information that will be useful to recovery crews.
Using Kucera's LIDAR sensor, precise measurements can be taken with laser pulses to create three-dimensional layered maps, while experts from RIT operate a thermal camera looking out for fires, contamination and survey damage.
Don McKeown, scientist in RITs Chester F Carlson Center for Imaging Science and project manager, gave an example of how the technology can help recovery efforts.
He said: "You can tell how much liquid is in a storage tank with a thermal camera. You can make inferences of tanks that are full, tanks that are empty and tanks that are leaking."
A donors conference is taking place in Montreal today to discuss the Haiti situation, which will involve more than a dozen countries, as well as several international bodies and non-governmental organisations.