OSMRE is using a RIEGL terrestrial lidar scanner to collect highly detailed elevation data for documenting restoration activities on the landscape. The RIEGL unit is mounted onto a tripod and emits several laser pulses per second and records when each of the pulses returns to the scanner. A Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera is mounted on top of the scanner; after each scan, the camera obtains photos of the area scanned.
OSMRE has been piloting the use of drone vehicles since 2011 to document and monitor reclamation activities. Applied remote sensing is a priority for the OSMRE Appalachian Region and the use of drones adds value to time spent in the field by aiding in inspections, technical assistance, and increasing the use of remote sensing. The OSMRE Appalachian Region Technical Support Division conducted a demonstration flight of the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) equipment to staff in the Mid-Continent Regional Office and members of the Indiana Prime Farmland Team.
Underground coal mine fires are widespread and pose a threat to both human and environmental health that can result in large economic loss, but they are generally underreported. Traditional mapping and monitoring of coal fires within the United States has primarily relied on costly field-based or airborne data, which are time and labor-intensive. The OSMRE is investigating the use of remotely sensed satellite data to identify problematic coal fires.