Image

Drone ‘mosaic’ to help environmental management

1 July 2020

A drone “mosaic” of harvested forestry blocks is letting Marlburians see the wood for the trees, and could cut down environmental issues. In New Zealand, Marlborough company GeoInsight Limited is using drones, 360-degree cameras and an e-bike to “stitch together” images of forestry blocks and help the Marlborough District Council streamline compliance checks.

Of the council’s 17 monitoring programmes, forestry is ranked the highest, due to its potential for adverse environmental impacts like land instability, erosion, and driving out native plants and animals.

GeoInsight co-founder Mark Spencer said the same issues cropped up “time and time again” during his decade-long stint as an environment officer at the council, so he teamed up with fellow co-founder and former council business analysis Rob Besaans to create ‘RemoteHQ’.

The pair had spent three years developing the software while on independent compliance checks for the council, designing it to be used in the six years post-harvest, when blocks were vulnerable to weather. “What typically happens is a company comes in, takes all the trees off [a block] and says, ‘see you later landowner. Good luck with that’.

“The block will sit idle during that ‘window of vulnerability’ period and landowners just really hope that no big weather events come through. If there is, a lot of the time … they tend not to do a lot of maintenance. “It’s important that pressure is put on either the landowner or the company to maintain what they put in place, otherwise we get erosion.”

The software would help make compliance “proactive, rather than reactive”, he said. The pair would send up a drone to photograph the forestry block, with images “stitched together” to create a high-definition mosaic. Shots were also taken on foot. An e-bike was used to get around forestry blocks and move equipment.

Spencer said the technology allowed compliance officers to spot issues that weren’t visible on foot. He recalled a drone spotting “cracks” on a hillside, which could have triggered a compliance failure if wet weather had dumped forestry materials into the stream below.

After identifying spots that were a compliance failure, concern or excellent, the pair broadcast the results online on the RemoteHQ website for the council, public and other forestry members to see. A council compliance officer could then use the software to point out problems to forest managers and landowners, with the aim of stopping environmental issues before they occurred.

GeoInsight’s fees were paid by landowners, not ratepayers, Spencer said. The pair were developing the software from their own pocket. Besaans described the software as a “radically new approach” to environmental management, one underpinned by public transparency.

“We set up GeoInsight … to eliminate erosion and sedimentation across New Zealand, starting with the Marlborough region,” he said. The pair’s long-term goal was to see RemoteHQ used by other regional councils.

Source: Stuff

Read More
Image

JOUAV unveils advanced airborne Lidar sensor

JOUAV has released the JoLiDAR-1000 Lidar sensor designed specifically for uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs or ‘drones’) as the latest addition to its array of high-performance Lidar sensors for use in UAV applications such as GIS, surveying and precision powerline inspections. ...
Read more
Image

Wingtra debuts pioneering Lidar drone solution

Wingtra has unveiled its innovative Lidar-drone solution. The new Lidar payload is designed to seamlessly integrate the efficiency, ease of operation, and high accuracy of the WingtraOne GEN II drones with an advanced Wingtra-engineered Lidar sensor, offering notable advancements in ...
Read more
Image

Trimble and DroneDeploy improved UAV mapping

Trimble has unveiled the integration of the Trimble Applanix POSPac Cloud post-processed kinematic (PPK) GNSS positioning service, featuring CenterPoint RTX, with the UAV-based mapping and data collection capabilities of DroneDeploy’s reality capture platform. With the Trimble cloud positioning service, DroneDeploy ...
Read more
Image

Blue gum expansion & mechanised planting planned

Australia’s dwindling timber reserves could be exhausted in less than a decade, but industry experts are hoping a new native nursery in Western Australia could help ease the pressure. In the coastal city of Albany, 450 kilometres south of Perth, ...
Read more
Image

Salvage success lessons shared with industry

Effective collaboration across the timber industry and learning the lessons from past fire salvage efforts have been highlighted as key factors underpinning the success of the record salvage program in the Tumut and Tumbarumba regions following the Black Summer fires ...
Read more
Image

First Silvicultural Micro Innovation Challenge

Three NZ$15,000 awards to turn your idea(s) into reality. Let’s level up our Silviculture game! Silviculture activities – planting, pruning, and thinning – are critical to successful forests, influencing not only the health and form of our trees, but the ...
Read more