How Drones Can Help with Environmental Monitoring

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Maybe Superman? No, it is actually
the latest way to monitor the environment: drones.

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

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.

Emergency Functions

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

Wildlife Protection

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

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.

Data Collection

Drones are extremely useful in data collection. At Australian Dynamic Technologies, we
use them for chemical monitoring, air quality samples, and more.

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.


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