It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Maybe Superman? No, it is actually the latest air quality monitor: drones. Australia has its fair share of common air quality issues and drone are proving to be an excellent, modern day tool to assist with measurement and control.
These unmanned aerial tools have become a leisurely interest for some and a professional hobby for others. While their use for package delivery is up for debate, their function as environmental monitors is clear cut. Drones provide data collection, photography, and monitoring through various scenarios. Their value in environmental monitoring continues to grow.
Environment and Drones: Where’s the Connection?
Drones are futuristic in their design and function. While many researchers focus on how to further develop air monitoring drone functions, environmentalists already have started utilising this tool. This technology is excellent for data collection, from air quality samples to topography assessments.
For example, drones are being used already in projects to combat deforestation. Urbanisation and mining destroy over 26 billion trees annually. This greatly impacts resources, hunger, and other crises. Drones allow for documentation of map data and can be used to plant seeds. Analyses of potential regrowth can be conducted and deforestation combatted.
The line between the environment and drones is short and direct. Drones provide perspective and access some people cannot achieve on their own. The products serve the environment in many ways, proving this connection is a valuable one.
In times of natural disasters, drones also play a role in environmental monitoring. As recent wildfires in places like the United States have shown, forest fires can be devastating.
Recent work at the Technical University of Madrid saw the development of a forest fire detection system. It reports affected areas, wind direction, and more. The algorithm based on drone surveillance has proven to be accurate thus far.
In terms of tropical disasters, drones can be used to monitor tropical storms, hurricanes, and more. This allows environmentalists to observe dangerous conditions without endangering themselves. Monitoring these storms provides invaluable information on patterns, issues, and contributing factors.
Environmental monitoring extends to the movement of animals across various geographic regions. Drones protect environmental locations and animals by herding animals as necessary.
On a Kenyan reserve, this technology is used to scare elephants away from dangerous locations. This not only protects the land but also keeps elephants away from potential poachers.
Drone sensors can also be used to track and report on endangered or at-risk populations. Wild animals can be tracked, and reports generated through the use of drones. These functions occur without disturbing animals or the environment, allowing for nature to run its course uninterrupted.
All of this allows for monitoring and care to take place, but with minimal risk to the person or team involved.
Documenting Climate Change
At its most basic function, drones can capture data through photographic evidence. Utilising this photographic evidence gives comparative documentation on the impact of climate change. Drone footage can show changes in ecosystems, coastlines, forest size, and more.
These unmanned entities can function in the extreme cold of Antarctica, allowing for research in places humans cannot reach. Overall, drones can be used to detect changes in seawater temperatures, measure ice cap thickness, and count various animal populations. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has even used this technology during atmospheric events like winter storms and tropical storms.
Drones are extremely useful in data collection. At Australian Dynamic Technologies, we use them for chemical monitoring, air quality samples, and more. A drone can be a very useful tool in different industries that require odour monitoring.
The ability to gather data lets us make more informed decisions. A drone can identify areas suited for constructing dykes, building shelters, and planting productive crops and vegetation.
Drones may have once been a dream of the future, but they are the reality of now. At the core, drones providing recording, monitoring, and photographs of what is happening in our environment.