Unmanned Areal Vehicles (UAVs), or “drones”, are an example of a remote monitoring technology that Fiera Biological applies to answer ecological questions for our clients, as well as for our own research and development projects. We regularly utilize two different UAV platforms, which both excel under different flying conditions.
The Draganflyer X4-P is a professional grade quadcopter with the ability to take-off, land, and hover in very tight quarters. We find it particularly useful in forest environments, where open spaces for take-offs and landings is limited or nonexistent. A quadcopter is also particularly useful for applications where hovering is required for close inspections. The Draganflyer is equipped with a high resolution EO (RGB) camera, and a 5-band multi-spectral camera (RGB, near-infrared, red-edge) that is tailored for vegetation and habitat mapping applications.
The Sensefly eBee is a fully autonomous fixed-wing professional mapping platform that can cover over 2 square km in a single flight. This is our go-to platform for mapping large, relatively open areas. The eBee is also equipped with a high resolution RGB camera and a multi-spectral sensor that can be used to assess vegetation and map habitats.
Our highly skilled remote sensing team has the knowledge and capabilities to take the base-level imagery outputs from the UAVs (orthomosaics, reflectance maps, and 3D point clouds), and turn these into advanced mapping and geospatial data products. For example, the orthomosaic images can be used to create detailed land cover maps with 3 to 10 cm ground resolution, allowing the imagery to be used to identify, map, and monitor change in ground cover through time. Similar to LiDAR data, we can also use the 3D point clouds to create terrain and vegetation models that can be used for a wide range of applications.
Importantly, Fiera Biological has all of the required licensing, permitting, training, and insurance required to legally and safely fly our UAV platforms for our clients.