Since 2012, the Yorkshire Peat Partnership has been using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to survey degraded blanket bog across the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, and Nidderdale AONB. This technology has enabled the partnership to survey and monitor blanket bogs in unprecedented detail.
Using the experience and knowledge gained working with an off-the-shelf UAV (the Sensefly eBee), the Partnership has had two new UAVs custom built to its requirements.
Yorkshire Peat Partnership GIS & Remote Sensing Officer, Mark Brown, said:
"These are the first UAVs that we know of that have been constructed especially for surveying in upland environments in the UK. With a wingspan of 2m and weighing 5.2kg, the UAVs have great resistance to the higher wind speeds typically experienced in our uplands."
The improved performance is backed up with next-generation battery technology that allow the UAVs to stay in the air for much longer.
A LIDAR range finder provides centimetre accurate height readings that are used to improve landing accuracy. Sony A6000 cameras can capture images at 24.3megapixels.The latest multi-spectral sensor on the market gives the capability to capture data in the red, blue, green, near-infrared and red-edge bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. This will advance capabilities in vegetation mapping and identifying sphagnum mosses as well as assessing plant health and vigour.
In addition, six of Partnership team have recently passed their UAV pilot certification, so these UAVs will be used throughout the Pennine PeatLIFE and Yorkshire Peat Partnership projects.
Mark continued: "We are now offering a low cost consultancy service, so please get in touch if you are interested in the application of this wonderful technology in your own projects."
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