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Harisen & Lovemore with dji drones outside WfZ offices

Drones, Panoramas, Mapping

We are really excited that our partner One Tree Planted has sponsored us a DJI Mavic Mini2 drone to document the work on the ground. It is tiny and weighs less than 250g but is very capable in the hands of Harisen, our manager and skilled drone pilot. This is now the second drone we have in Malawi with hopefully more to come – as they are amazing tools to show what is really going on!

You might wonder why a charity that installs pumps, empowers women and promotes the planting of indigenous trees would need drones? We have discovered that it can be very helpful to have another perspective of the work on the ground.


A panorama from the sky is one of the easiest ways to actually see what is happening in high resolution. We try to be as transparent as possible with the tree planting project and this helps being accountable as we can show that the work on the ground is actually happening.

How do we use drones at Wells for Zoë?

Whenever there is the idea of a new collaboration between WfZ and a community, Harisen or Lovemore (video) take some panoramas of a planting site and check if it is feasible to plant indigenous trees in the area. If a community seems like they would benefit from our assistance and that the whole project will likely succeed and what we see in the panoramas adds up to the story then all steps during the set up and planting are monitored from the air with the drone.

They capture individual photos, or panoramas for the map.

Also Lovemore and Harisen are able to use drones to capture the data to create drone photogrammetric maps as well as 3D-pointclouds of whole areas. This can be extremely helpful in the combination with Artificial Intelligence to count planting holes with ATLAS by SPH Engineerging.

This actually involves several steps and we are still in trials as it’s accuracy is not always perfect, but it can still be immensely helpful – if not only to count how many nursery beds are in a nursery!


  • define training areas
  • mark planting holes
  • AI autodetect holes

Nursery beds in Embangweni
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