Early Detection of Illegal Settlements on Government Lands using UAV Technology - A Case Study


  • G. Vunase
  • R. A. Nsiah


Illegal settlements (squatter settlements) have been a persisting problem in most developing countries and even some developed countries. This has led to the loss of huge sums of money, resources, time and energy. These illegal settlements serve as hide outs for most armed robbers, drug dealers, drug addicts, murderers, rapists, prostitutes and the like. Children born in these areas are not given proper care and education hence the cycle continuous. They also pollute the environment through their activities. Some squatters on government lands and mining concessions indulge in illegal mining activities and illegal logging. Large portions of government lands are unguarded, as a result most of these squatter settlements are very difficult to detect. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology has improved tremendously over the past few years and has led to increase in the number of UAVs produced and are relatively affordable. The objective of this study was to detect illegal settlements in and around the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) boundary and other government land using UAV technology. This study used high resolution images acquired from UAV (Phantom 4 Pro) and Agisoft Metashape to align and optimise the images, generate point clouds as well as digital surface models and orthophotos. Four illegal settlements were detected in this study. Three were detected in Part A and one in Part B of the study area. The UAV Technology is a useful tool to detect illegal settlements in their early stages in order to avoid such settlements developing into slums. This study therefore recommends the use of UAV Technology to aid early detection of illegal settlements.