(Re-post from Jeff Kerby @ http://vimeo.com/69579388)
To better understand arctic herbivore foraging ecology, we need information about the timing of plant growth (i.e. plant phenology) at high resolution over several square kilometers.
The solution: A vegetation monitoring UAV!
Still in the testing phases here, but we’re using a small point-and-shoot camera (Canon S100 or Sony NEX 5n) mounted on this lightweight aerial platform (GoPro used for video footage) to map changing patterns of vegetation growth throughout the season. Using the high-resolution maps made by stitching these photos together, we are able to study patterns of vegetation development at spatial scales that even the most sophisticated satellites cannot match. This approach avoids the high costs and logistical constraints of traditional airplane-based mapping.
The logistics of supporting this out on the Greenland tundra, however, are quite challenging! Should have brought a few more spare parts with me.
Footage taken by Jeff Kerby and Christian John.
UAV construction and support from Lian Pin Koh at ConservationDrones.org