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Helicopters can be a key asset during an emergency response, be it to distribute aid to the right place, to move affected people, or to move responders from location to location. They may also be used to conduct aerial assessments where ground-based access can be difficult. Helicopters will also often be used for rescues.

Strategic or operational?


Basemap, baseline or situational?

Basemap and Situational.

When might it be produced?

As required, although flight maps may already exist for the area. If this is the case then these should be used in the first instance.

Intended audience

Anyone flying or planning moves, particularly logisticians.

Influence on humanitarian decisions

Although there are many variations that can affect a flight – weather, elevation, payload, helicopter type etc, if an approximate flight range can be shown then planners can estimate the best location for warehouses etc for moving aid to.

Helicopter pilots will always make a visual inspection of a helicopter landing zone before attempting a landing, providing areas are flat (with an angle of less than 7º) and there is a clear approach.

Maps should show features that are clearly identifiable from the air such as major roads, railway lines or significant water bodies.

Elevation is key to show, particularly in mountainous areas. In highly mountainous areas maximum elevation may restrict the height at which helicopters can physically fly, whilst more generally the maximum height of physical features (e.g. mountains) needs to be known to pilots so that they can calculate the minimum height at which they can fly.

  • Airfields
  • Roads and rail
  • Water bodies and rivers
  • Elevation (contours)

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