More commonly known as drones, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is proliferating in our society. Technological advances are becoming available at commercially viable resolutions, making UAV use practical for environmental and engineering consultants. Use in the agricultural, mining, environmental and civil engineering sectors has already gained significant traction.
Data acquired using UAVs can be helpful in many types of environmental projects including:
- Large property environmental site assessments (ESAs);
- Storm water management;
- Remediation monitoring;
- Spill assessments and receptor identification;
- Monitoring earth work progress; and
- Updated aerial photographs of facilities.
The use of UAVs also give access to difficult to reach areas and sensitive terrains in a non-destrictive manner.
The advantages of using UAVs inlcude:
- Quality data provides a more complete picture of your site when compared to the number of hours it would take on the ground to obtain the same level of information;
- Can be more economically efficient for larger properties and remote areas;
- Provides real time photography or video of a site for spills; and
- Allows an environmental professional to access more of the site in a shorter time and with less potential exposure to site hazards. Often, sites are overgrown and difficult to navigate in a single visit.
UAVs will always be complementary to the on-site inspection by an environmental professional.