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Conservation Mapping With Drones

We've written a few blogs on the subject of drone mapping, and this is no exception. At Geographic Techniques, we specialize in drones for mapping conservation areas. The high resolution aerial imagery and orthomosaic maps derived from drones can be used to assess the state of ecosystems, the effect of disturbances, and the dynamics and changes of biological communities. Applications over natural and protected areas, along with the retrieval of important biophysical parameters of ecosystems, and the mapping of species distributions, make them a powerful tool in conservation practices.

(Above, drone derived orthoimage of conservation property)

Drones are especially valuable for land management organizations having limited resources, properties with challenging terrain situations, and needing general landscape comprehension. They offer the viewing of current conditions and time comparisons of conservation properties, rapid risk and disturbance assessments, ecosystem structure and processes assessments, mapping of threats, vulnerability and conservation issues of biological communities and species, mapping of phenological and temporal trends, habitat mapping, and the monitoring and reporting of conservation status.

(Above, drone derived video focused on a portion of a conservation easement)

Drone mapping also offers important baseline documentation for conservation easement stewardship. Baselines establish the conditions of the property at the onset of an easement (conservation values, ecological features, man-made features, etc.) and serves as a basis for future monitoring and enforcement by observing the condition of the property to determine compliance requirements (e.g., satisfying legal obligations, preventing easement violations, and creating permanent records). Simply put, drones give land trusts the ability to see what is happening on a property both immediately prior to and during the life of that easement.

In summary, environmental applications rely on understanding change and the intricacies of the variables affecting change, something that drone data help achieve. Drones used in conservation mapping offer several applications, such as baseline and monitoring reports, repeatable aerial imagery acquisition, before and after comparison, project planning, data collection, and outreach. For project planning purposes, they can monitor real-time conditions, survey large areas, produce imagery for ground-based work, land use classification, watershed analysis, habitat delineation, and stakeholder communication through various map outputs.

Please feel free to contact us if you think drone mapping may be beneficial to your organization. We will be happy to discuss your options and what you need to know.

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