Drone Technology Provides Instant Benefits

September 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Features

Unmanned Arial Vehicle technology has already made a splash in the front pages, often for projects that are years away from fruition – think Amazon and their mooted drone delivery service.

However, one way that it can have an immediate and tangible benefit is with the monitoring of nesting bird species, and the promotion of areas that would be of interest to tourists.

Dr. Paul Morrison, the Coquet Island site manager for the RSPB, said: “Helishoot conducted a trial filming on Coquet Island ahead of the season’s influx of nesting terns.

“The immediate impact of using this equipment was the obvious new dimension it offered the RSPB Coquet team to promote the reserve in a new innovative way,” he continued.

“There is huge potential for expanding this approach in the future as well as helping with monitoring of the nesting bird species on Coquet. In particular it would be very useful to help find large gull chicks that hide in the dense vegetation on the island, using an infra red camera. This would be easy to achieve as this work could be carried out towards the end of the season when there is minimal risk to disturbing sensitive or protected species such as roseate terns.”

For those worried about the impact a UAV would have on the nesting population of birds can put their fears to bed. “The interaction with puffins and large gulls, whilst in flight was nil, with gulls flying past the device at close quarters with no visual alarm discernible,” said Dr Morrison.

UAV technology could also be used to protect, as well as to monitor. “It would be interesting to see if a small loudspeaker could be attached to use as a scaring method for playing alarm calls to frighten large gulls from the island in spring and autumn,” Dr. Morrison concluded.

Drones are already being used in other parts of the country to keep track of cranes and corncrakes, which are being reintroduced to the British Isles following their disappearance from the land.

UAV tech is already being used in other areas of business, including in agriculture, where it has been used to monitor crops in much the same way that they have monitored the puffin population on Coquet Island.

Their uses could also include the conservation of old buildings, as well as the production of 3D maps to determine when and where repairs are needed.

Helishoot is a North East based film and survey company that has CAA Permissions to fly commercially and carry out this type of work.

Article contributed by Russell Hughes

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