How Drone Tech Could Revolutionise Research Techniques On The Environment
If you’re a drone user, then you’ll know how you can capture fantastic footage from the sky. Whether you’re looking to upload content to YouTube or create a short film, your video production can use 360-degree live shots to dramatically enhance a scene. However, you’ll find that drone technology could be used in a way to support different environmental causes.
The Geographical reports that drones could change how data is collected on landscape and vegetation. It identified that a certain type of fungus, Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, has played its part in the decline of ash trees in Britain and Europe.
The disease is responsible for causing the death of the sapwood, which can impact a tree’s ability to carry water up to its highest branches. It can lead to canopy dieback and leaf loss, too. You’ll find it’s an issue that different environmental organisations are trying to tackle, though drones could help them to identify the damage that the disease is causing to woodlands at a much faster – and cheaper – rate.
According to the news source, modern drones can be used as a survey tool, with existing technology such as 4k cameras and photogrammetry providing three-dimensional data. The user can control the device with handheld tablets – either Android or Apple – and use apps like DJI Go to provide basic drone control and DroneDeploy to fly it.
If you’re using drones, then you’ll be able to use it in your research to provide visual data on maps and create large areas to analyse further. You’ll find that the research will prove to be beneficial not only for the organisation, but also scientific journals, academics and the media, which would help to increase exposure on such issues.
Drone usage can extend its purpose beyond environmental issues and be used to study different animals. According to the Jakarta Post, the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve (MSDR) and World Wildlife Fund-Brazil (WWF-Brazil) have used the tech in a project called EcoDrones, which has focused on the pink river dolphin and the tucuxi in the Amazon rainforest.
The observations of the pink dolphins, also known as Inia geoffrensis, haven’t been restricted to daytime research either. In fact, both organisations have been able to use thermal-imaging cameras to allow them to continue their research during the nights.
Marcelo Oliveira, a conservation specialist for WWF-Brazil, commented: “We need to understand their behaviour and habits so that we can propose policies for their preservation. We can observe the animals at times when before it was impossible [to do so].”
Miriam Marmontel, an oceanographer for MSDR, commented: “There are many different Amazons in what we call the Amazon jungle. Our monitoring means we can understand how to preserve animals in each region, what are the dangers and how they can be faced.”
WWF-Brazil and MSDR plan to send the data to the University of Liverpool, aiming for scientists to develop an algorithm that will allow them to identify every one of the dolphins during their observations.
Considering the public support on issues relating to the environment and animals, more organisations should consider adopting drones, especially as it could be a significant way in which research is conducted and help to tackle these issues more effectively in the short term.