New Zealand: Auckland University of Technology (AUT) has acquired a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to monitor species conservation and map the country’s environment. “UAVs are essentially defence technology, however, their application is increasing globally for a range of other purposes including conservation, biosecurity, mineral exploration, fisheries management, traffic monitoring and other scientific research,” said Professor John Brooks, a microbiologist and Head of Research at AUT University’s School of Applied Sciences.
AUT has also partnered with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to step up its conservation initiatives. One of the areas both parties are keen to develop is monitoring and surveying through GIS mapping techniques.
Dr Barbara Bollard-Breen, an expert in GIS and ecosystem management, said that the remote sensing capability of the UAV will provide AUT and DOC greater capacity for habitat mapping and marine and terrestrial surveillance.
“The UAV gives us the opportunity to look very closely at parts of the environment that would only be possible using low resolution satellite imagery. It also allows us to canvas a far wider area than is physically possible from the ground and gather more accurate environmental data and information about our natural resources,” Dr Barbara said.
The UAV will be used for a range of research purposes including monitoring the numbers of Maui Dolphins – the world’s rarest dolphin; mapping island vegetation restoration, mapping the rehabilitation of mining sites in New Zealand, and monitoring sea bird populations to name a few.
Source: Auckland Scoop