From habitat management and glacial feature modelling to animal counting and compliance monitoring across farming, fishing and logging, environmental protection and conservation is no easy feat. Individuals and government agencies are increasingly relying on drones as a replacement for surveying equipment or traditional aerial imaging services. Coastal erosion in particular is one area where drones are demonstrating cost and time saving attributes.
At many beach sites in the UK, the constant onslaught of the sea causes major land erosion. This is why the shingle – the pebbles or cobbles – of the beaches need to be topped up regularly. Besides soil loss, this preventative action also seeks to curb water pollution and flooding, among others. “Sea Defence and Beach Management” is part of the remit of the UK Environment Agency. They tasked the UAV experts from the company ATEC-3D to undertake a volume survey of one such beach between the villages of Littlestone and St. Mary’s Bay in Kent with Parrot/Sensefly’s eBee drone.
The challenge with many preservation projects is that they often need to be carried out in a short timeframe. Due to the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of drone technology, coastal erosion projects take less time to complete while maintaining the required precision and detail. The UK Environment Agency is benching on the fact that the accuracy of drone data is very comparable to on-site ground surveys, but using a drone was much, much quicker.