SFEI has developed novel, cost-effective solutions to costly problems. In particular, our work with drones or Unoccupied Aerial Systems (UAS) has yielded very promising results. We have used UAS to address a number of scientific challenges and use cases. SFEI applications of UAS include, wetland monitoring, restoration monitoring, sediment volume estimations, and trash surveys leveraging machine learning algorithms. In the course of our use of UAS, we have derived some useful analyses on the technology that lend the resulting products credibility and reliability.
- Control of timing of data collection (to accommodate, weather, managment activites, tides, etc.)
- Repeatability of flights before and after events (autonomous flight paths)
- Sensing of sensitive and hard to reach areas (marshes, water, native plants etc.)
- Quick turnaround (less than 12 hour processing)
- High resolution and comprehensive datasets
- Multiple sensor options (true color, multispectral, thermal, etc.)
- Collection of continuous elevation data (using structure from motion)
Services/Potential Use Cases:
- Virtual fly-throughs
- Cross sections
- Volumetric calculations
- Inspections of infrastructure
- Mapping of vegetation and habitat (spectral signature, elevation)
- Monitoring of restoration sites
- Monitoring of wetland erosion and topographic change
- Trash detection
- Sediment monitoring/quantification
- Levee inspection
- Detection and scoring of wetland quality
- Orthoimagery with ½-inch (or higher) resolution
- Digital Surface Models (DSMs)
- Digital Terrain Models (DTMs)
- 3D models/meshes
- Point Clouds
As our use of this techology continues, we will be producing new data and analyses that can more efficiently address scientific questions at new scales and levels of detail.
For questions about SFEI's use or general applicability of UAS please contact Pete Kauhanen.
Programs and Focus Areas:
Geographic Information Systems
Related Projects, News, and Events:
California Trash Data Dive 2018 (News)
On November 16, 2018, the project team helped to coordinate a Trash Data Dive convened by the State Water Board’s Office of Information Management and Analysis. Hosted at SFEI’s offices, the Trash Data Dive was well-attended and drew participants from all over California to discuss the opportunities to address entrenched problems with respect to trash-related information.
California Trash Monitoring Methods Project (Project)
SFEI’s drone technology is helping track the trash across California.
Photo courtesy of Shelly Moore, SCCWRP
The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), in close partnership with the State Water Board, has recognized the importance of standard methods for trash monitoring and has funded this project. The Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) and San Francisco Bay Estuary Institute (SFEI) have partnered up to test multiple trash monitoring methods with a goal of developing a library of methods with known levels of precision, accuracy, and cross-comparability of results, and linking these methods to specific management questions.