Remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) can enter environments that were previously difficult to reach or completely inaccessible, remain in the air for hours, gather terabytes of footage and data, work completely autonomously when needed, and provide a significant increase in safety over manned aircraft.
Advisian Digital Enterprise has experience in all of this. The Aerial Data Management team has used several rotor and fixed wing systems with a range of sensors including photomapping, HD video, thermal IR, multispectral, and soon LiDAR and methane/benzene. The ability to fly beyond visual line of sight for an extended duration using these advanced technologies provide limitless possibilities. The Aerial Data Management team has a wealth of knowledge and experience flying RPAS.
Infrastructure assessment and monitoring
- RPAS was used in dam safety and monitoring tasks over a large isolated lake within line of sight. The assessment included dam wall structural integrity, inundation mapping and water level impacts.
Wildlife and vegetation monitoring
- A whale disentanglement exercise was performed offshore. The exercise included the mid-air handover of the RPAS between two operators (one on land, one in a boat).
- IR sensors on the RPAS were used to locate Koalas in trees. The heat of the Koalas was contrasted against the fauna in the imagery captured during the morning and in the evening.
- A multispectral camera has been used to detect the presence of invasive weeds.
- IR sensors were used to locate areas of probable archaeological significance and to map known items. Items of significance are often formed in rock and the heat of the rock at various times of the day can be contrasted against the surrounding areas.
- High resolution photographs of known archaeological items are used to support the application for World Heritage Site recognition.
Bushfire preparedness and monitoring
- RPAS has been used in fuel reduction burns (FRB) to track the burn as well as map burn intensity and success including the detection of unburnt areas and post-burn recovery.
- Small fires have been detected and mapped using IR sensors.
- Hazardous trees (burnt or dead trees that pose a risk to people) have been identified and inspected.
- RPAS has search and rescue capability as well. It has been used successfully to find a person in bushland during a test scenario.
Coastal erosion monitoring
- Erosion is a major issue facing many coastal areas and communities. RPAS has been used to create baseline data for an area of interest. High definition mapping of the area in subsequent years can detect even slight changes to the region so that erosion can be better understood and mitigated.
Locating Groundwater Seepage into a River
A UAV Thermal Infrared Survey was conducted to locate zones of potentially contaminated groundwater seeping into a river.
- The results showed multiple discrete zones within the river where there was a slight increase in water temperature; these zones were hypothesized to be due to warmer groundwater seeping into the river.
- Drive points were installed in the river based on the UAV results and sampling was able to verify the hypothesis.
- The UAV survey was cost effective, fast, and non-intrusive; providing the client with results almost immediately after data collection.
Mapping Metal Debris at a Decommissioned Oil/Gas Field
A UAV magnetometer survey was conducted over a decommissioned oil and gas exploration base, with the objective of locating buried metal left behind from operations.
- Using the UAV, it was possible to rapidly collect magnetic data across terrain that would have been impossible to access on foot.
- The high quality results suggested that a documented landfill still contained significant buried metal.
- The magnetometer also identified individual pieces of surface/buried metal that had not yet been cleared away.
- The UAV survey was cost effective and non-intrusive; it provided the client with a high quality dataset that accurately located the remaining debris.