SFEI has invested in novel, cost-effective solutions to costly problems. Most recently, our work with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has yielded some very promising results. We have collaborated with our colleagues at the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) to field test a UAV and apply it to a number of scientific challenges. In the course of this research, we have derived some useful analysis on the use of the technology.
- 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 (12 hour processing)
- High resolution and comprehensive datasets
- Virtual fly throughs
- Cross sections
- Volumetric calculations
- Inspections of infrastructure
- Mapping of vegetation (spectral signature, elevation)
- Monitoring of restoration sites
- Trash detection
- Sediment monitoring/quantification
- Levee inspection
- Detection and scoring of wetland quality
- ½ inch (or higher) resolution imagery
- Digital Surface Models (DSMs)
- 3D models/meshes
- Point Clouds
As our work in this area of inquiry continues, we will be applying the tool to more projects, thereby producing new data and analyses that can more efficiently address scientific questions at new scales and levels of detail.
Related Projects, News, and Events:
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.