This week, the MCSS Banyan Tree team started their first droning adventure.
Accessible satellite imagery of Google maps, GIS and Google earth is either outdated or holds insufficient image processing quality. As we wanted to analyze the current hydrological situation, habitat types, invasive plant species distribution and vegetation status of the wetland area at Anse Intendance, we had to create or own, high definition map of the study site Anse Intendance.
Currently, drones are a cutting edge technology and are mainly used by civilians, media, engineers and researchers. Drone based imagery and video material is mostly used for aerial photography, mapping, surveillance, transport and filming.
The application of drones opens new, cheap and quick research possibilities such as the surveillance of inaccessible areas and shy animals, the production of 3D maps and vegetation maps, the creation of digital surface or terrain models, anti-poaching controls, animal counts, sustainable land use management techniques and even for marine conservation measures.
The Anse Intendance wetland was and will be mapped through a Phantom 4 pro drone which out-competes our old drones through an extremely long battery life of 20 minutes, an automatic mapping application which strongly facilitates the whole mapping progress, the automatic recording of GPS points and a camera which has a resolution of 20 megapixel. The drone was and will be flown at a height of 80 m and with a front\side picture overlap of 60/70 % respectively. The high resolution and quality of the acquired orthomosaic will allows us to define different habitat types and spot invasive plant species. This information is crucial for any restoration work which includes for example native plant nurseries and invasive species removal.