Today is the 46th Earth Day. So what better time to examine how drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are being used to safeguard our precious planet and its inhabitants.
This April 22nd, on Earth Day 2016, we are celebrating the valuable role that drone technology has played, and is increasingly playing, in the field of environmental sustainability.
From climate change research and erosion monitoring to animal counting and species identification, the list of projects that drones are now used on is huge, and it continues to grow by the day.
Below are seven great examples of how senseFly drones have been employed around the world — we hope you find them as interesting as we do!
Explore the infographic:
1. Mapping the Philippines after a typhoon
When Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, struck the country’s South East coast, it devastated entire communities – tearing apart thousands of homes and destroying livelihoods.
Over the course of six days, senseFly drones were used by Medair to create detailed maps and digital terrain models of Tacloban, Dulag and Julita boroughs and to assess typhoon damage and plan shelter reconstruction. The team then provided leaders with physical high-res maps that they could use to assess the damage and plan reconstruction efforts based on the current, accurate data. Without the drone data, this would not have been possible. Read more
2. Counting grey seals in Canada
When Duke University researchers wanted to try a different, less dangerous animal counting approach than helicopters, they headed to Canada with two senseFly eBees. The project’s results confirmed how UAV technology can help save researchers both time and money, highlighting in particular the promise of thermal imaging. Read more
3. Reducing nitrogen usage on a Russian farm
Dr. Berezovskiy and the team at Timiryazev State Agrarian University in Moscow used an eBee Agfarming drone to capture high-resolution imagery for their wheat fertilisation project. They then used this imagery to create a custom application map with which to optimise their nitrogen application. The result: the team reduced the amount of nitrogen used by 20%. Watch the video
4. Counting sharks in the Seychelles
In order to assess the general health and evolution of an atoll in the Seychelles, the SaveOurSeas Foundation and Drone Adventures used senseFly eBee drone data to analyse both the current state of its shores and the evolution of the shark population. The precise aerial imagery that the eBee captured was reconstructed into a digital surface model, which marine biologists are using in their studies of local wildlife, for example to understand the symbiosis between different species. Read more
5. Water mapping in Chad
Water reserves close to inhabited areas of N’djamena in Chad are often drastically affected by drought. In order to provide local structures with precise and up-to-date information, Swiss geospatial experts Easy2map used a senseFly eBee to capture precise visual data on the region’s topography and terrain. Thanks to the captured images and Easy2map’s analysis, the local authorities were able to improve their drought reaction planning. Read more
6. Using drones to map a sensitive Australian heritage site
The annual monitoring of Lake Victoria’s vegetation, shoreline and cultural heritage by Australian UAVinvolved flying two eBee drones; total survey area of 5000 hectares. The data produced enabled the company to monitor the movement of sands around the lake and document the effects of vegetation establishment on the exposure of Aboriginal heritage. Read more
7. Counting turtles in Indonesia
In order to better understand and protect a population of Indonesian green turtles, researchers from two universities in the Netherlands used a senseFly drone to produce several aerial photographs. This precise, geo-referenced imagery helped the team to evaluate the population of turtles in the region, enabling scientists to better theorise their behaviour. Read more
Read even more drone case studies.