Partners: Wildlife Conservation Society, Madagascar
Since 2011, we've been experimenting with a variety of small, inexpensive unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for conservation. These platforms have included a hexacopter (Mikrokopter) and several arduplane models (e.g. Bixler with APM 2).
To date our focus has largely been mapping and aerial photography, but these platforms have tremendous potential for monitoring forest cover, mapping tree height, tracking wildlife, change detection, environmental enforcement, and other applications.
We have also been experimenting with a variety of methods to generate georeferenced ortho-mosaics and 3D models from data collected, including Agisoft Photoscan, dronemapper.org, and simple mosaics with tools like Microsoft ICE. Preliminary results include the following. A fly-through of a 3D model from Maravolonana, Madagascar near Makira Park, and mosaics from the KAFS field station, the FOFIFA forest reserve near Kianjavato, Madagascar, and a small farm near Maroantsetra, Madagascar.