Challenge

A major aquatic science organisation tasked the Wide Horizons team to carry out a detailed, yet time sensitive habitat survey of a selected section of a rural river. The survey was to be part of a larger operation to assess the impact of the change in flow rate of the river on the immediate habitat. Because of this, the river's flow was changed at set points in the day, resulting in the Wide Horizons team needing to strategically plan the flight routes and times, to ensure all data was captured for each flow rate.

Due to the river passing under a major road and across highly inaccessible land the team had to ensure that the planned routes were achievable and safe.

Solution

The river was firstly segmented into a number of flight paths, with flight heights and speed taken into consideration to ensure that imagery captured on each flight was conducted in a set format ensuring the only variable factor was the flow rate of the river. Once this was agreed the team were then able to assess the accessibility issues associated with the project. Because of the rural location and survey distance required, the sub 7kg UAV was selected due to its lightweight design and its portability. This enabled the team to have the necessary freedom to walk the entire length of the survey area ensuring the ability to undertake each flight safely whilst ensuring the project objectives were completed.

Results

The entire project's data was then compiled to include both visual imagery as well as video footage of the entire survey area, showing real-time effects of the flow rate along the identified habitat areas. The survey footage was then detailed onto a survey plan identifying the flights completed and the areas each flight covered, ensuring the client was able to interpret and understand the data in clear and concise manner.

The use of the Wide Horizons team and UAV technology, resulted in a level of survey footage which had not been achieved before on this type of project, and so allowed the client to make a more informed decision.

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