Volume 69

Drones for Conservation: Lessons Learned in Antigua and Barbuda

Baldwin, K., S. Schill, S, J. Williams, and G. Raber
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Date: November, 2016

Pages: 79 - 81

Event: Proceedings of the Sixty eigth Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Grand Cayman

Country: Cayman Islands


Unfortunately, basemaps and elevation models fundamental for managing natural resources are not routinely available, due largely to the cost associated with extensive airborne field surveys and in-situ measurements, which can be financially and logistically burdensome (Baldwin and Oxenford 2014, Norse 2010, Yang 2009). Over the last decade, advances in remote sensing have seen the development and application in the use of ‘drones’ or small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) as a valuable tool for environmental management (Whitehead et al. 2015). UAS encompass a whole system: comprising a lightweight Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or remotely piloted aircraft and ground control station; its’ imaging payload (RGB camera, infrared, thermal and multispectral sensors); as well as flight planning, surface reconstruc-tion and spatial analysis software applications (Whitehead and Hugenholtz 2014). These small and flexible platforms are emerging with an array of payload systems tailored to specific management needs, including habitat mapping, elevation modeling and vegetation health assessments (AIA 2013, Nex and Remondino 2014, Paneque-Galvez 2014) and more recently for marine monitoring applications (Hall 2016, Hodgson et al. 2015, Schill 2015). UAS are now providing researchers a relatively easy-to-use platform, well-suited for mapping at intermediate spatial scales (1 - 10 km2), at a fraction of the cost, time and technical skill required by traditional aerial survey techniques (Greenwood 2016).

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