Using Drones to Optimize Restoration & Remediation Projects
When it comes to monitoring restoration or remediation projects, it is important to protect the site’s natural or historic resources and minimize the field team’s exposure to contaminants. The solution to protecting both the site and your team is taking the monitoring off the ground using UAV or drone technology. Using drone-based systems allows the project team to minimize the impact on the environment, streamline data collection, improve site safety, limit exposure to contaminants on remediation sites, and ultimately deliver cost-effective solutions.
Drone technology can quickly collect GIS and modeling data aerially. Data points from restoration sites can track the health and growth of vegetation and other restoration metrics while also monitoring erosion rates and assessing natural disaster impact. The UAV-derived data are used to build an 3D model of the site to generate accurate topographic representations and show features that may not otherwise be visible.
"With drones, we can collect data at much greater volumes and access areas that would otherwise be unreachable," explains Drew Reicks, GIS specialist. "Analyzing this data with GIS makes it easy for us to better organize data and quickly modify or refine our analyses, sometimes within a matter of seconds. Pairing drone technology with GIS allows us to fill in gaps left by traditional field collection and generate a view not detectable by the human eye (multispectral), unlocking a more detailed and dynamic picture."
Depending on project needs, we have experience using many different environmental sensors including multispectral cameras and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). For many sites a UAV outfitted with a simple ditigal camera can produce high accuracy topographic data (within 0.1 foot). For forested sites, UAV-mounted LiDAR can provide numerous advantages over traditional LiDAR collected from planes. Selecting the right sensor technology involves understanding the terrain, the data quality and outputs needed, as well as, the client’s goals and budget.
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