Assessment of Unmanned Aircraft Systems for Elk Monitoring and Vegetation Assessment

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 07/30/2018 - 14:12

Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration

In partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Office, the FWS helped fund a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) project to assess the utility of UAS technology for monitoring elk distributions and for validating vegetation maps within the Carrizo Plains Ecological Reserve (CPER), San Luis Obispo County, California.

The project seeks to determine whether data collected by UAS are comparable to data collected by field crews hiking to pre-selected locations in terms of map accuracy.  Elk surveys consisted of utilizing the same UAS platform with imagery (video and stills) collected from both the embedded infrared nose-cone sensor and retrofitted Go-pro Hero II camera.  Despite a setback from the T-hawk platform (a hover-craft) being unavailable, the project adapted by utilizing a fixed-wing  Raven platform, retrofitted with a GPS-enabled Sony Action camera for the vegetation surveys. 

The field work was conducted in May 2014, and data compilation, analysis, and evaluations are currently underway by USGS and CDFW.

Remote Sensing Missions and Data

CA Carrizo Plain

USGS graphic of photo-mosaic constructed from individual images (blue tiles) collected from a GPS-enabled Sony Action camera.

Author Name
Justin Cutler
Author Email