The use of drones in scientific research has been growing rapidly over the past few years. With every passing day, new applications are being discovered and implemented. Some of these applications include environmental studies, wildlife observation, crop scouting, and more.
While some feel that this technology is out of control, many believe there’s no better way to gain knowledge than by studying nature up close and at your own pace.
The key thing to remember about using drones in scientific research is to be as careful as possible. You want to make sure you have all of the permits necessary and that people around you aren’t affected negatively by the experiment.
Measure water levels
Remotely monitoring rivers, lakes, or oceans to determine how much water is flowing in and out can help scientists understand river flow patterns, coastal erosion, floods, and drought conditions.
Drone technology makes it possible to do this with greater precision than before. By flying over waterways at regular intervals, aerial photographs and videos allow us to calculate the amount of water that flows into and out of the body being studied.
This is valuable information because changes in water level indicate whether weather or environmental factors are having an effect on the area. For example, if there’s a large decrease in water level during a flood event, it may suggest that some of the water was diverted somewhere else (like a lake). Or if the water level rises sharply after a rainfall, it may imply that the area received more rain than expected!
Aerial photography also helps researchers identify potential hazards like flooding or beach encroachment due to rising tides. This could warn people living nearby about potentially dangerous situationsor even provide warnings for larger scale events.
While many universities and research institutes already use drones for this purpose, you can create your own scientific drone project using off-the-shelf components. Here we will discuss some ways you can use a drone to measure water levels in nature.
Reminder: Before launching any drone projects, you must obtain appropriate licenses and permissions from local authorities and/or property owners.
Track animal migrations
There are many ways that drones can be used to study animals in their natural habitat. Some of these studies focus on tracking an individual species, while others look at trends across different time frames or areas. These surveys typically use aerial photographs and/or videos to determine if there are changes in population size, range, and density.
Studies like this help us understand how certain populations are developing and what factors influence their growth. For instance, researchers have found that predator loss is one of the main reasons white rhinos are struggling in South Africa. By documenting where predators go and how they interact with other species, we can find out why some populations decline.
With advances in computer technology, it is now possible to analyze vast amounts of data quickly and effectively. This means that our research has new levels of depth and detail that were not previously possible.
Drone surveys also do not require too much expensive equipment. A good quality drone will cost around $500-1000, which makes them relatively accessible to anyone who wants to start doing scientific research.
Monitor the environment
The use of drones in scientific research has grown rapidly over the past few years, with applications ranging from underwater surveys to watching wildlife to assess their numbers and well-being.
Drone technology is particularly useful when you need to get a closer look at something or want more detail than can be easily accessed by other means. For example, researchers may wish to monitor an area around a forest fire to see how much fuel is being burnt and how fast it’s going up. They could also check whether any sparks have been ignited as part of efforts to contain the blaze.
Drones are increasingly common tools in environmental science. Scientists use them to study coastal erosion, mountain landslides and floods, atmospheric studies (for instance, looking at air quality), studying plant growth patterns and biodiversity, and monitoring crops and forests.
Some projects require pilots, but many do not. Technology now makes it easy to operate autonomously — even if you don’t have much experience flying.
Record how weather affects plants
Over time, there are many ways that scientists can use aerial photographs to learn more about plant growth. By taking pictures of plants at different times and using computer software, you can determine how climate conditions affect plants.
Photos of plants in action often include the leaves curling up or collapsing as they grow. This is sometimes referred to as “plant wrinkling” because it looks like wrinkles in cloth when clothing shrinks as it dried.
By analyzing these photos, we can see what effects air temperature and water content have on plant growth. Plants need both moisture and energy to thrive so knowing this helps us understand their dependence on environmental factors and possible adaptations to changing environments.
We can also compare similar plants side-by-side to identify characteristics such as size, shape, and color. These comparisons help us identify which features repeat in similar species and influence their evolutionary fate.
Help with conservation
Using drones to study nature is an increasingly popular way to learn more about our environment. These aerial photographs and videos allow us to get high-quality pictures and information of landscapes, habitats, and biodiversity.
Drone surveys have been used in ecology studies since at least 1975, when researchers conducted habitat assessments using still photos. Since then, they’ve become even more common as technology has advanced.
Now, many scientists are able to not only take beautiful images and video clips, but also gather quantitative data such as how tall trees or bushes grow or how much water there is in areas surrounding a lake. This helps them determine what kind of ecosystem it is and how healthy it is.
Conservationists can use this knowledge to help preserve natural environments and promote ecological sustainability. They look for ways to improve upon nature’s balance, while ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy it.
Many governments offer funding opportunities for ecologists to pursue research projects involving drone imagery. There may even be companies that create their own software to aid in analysis.
However, just because something is technologically possible doesn’t mean everyone agrees on whether or not it is ethical! Some believe that drones should never be allowed outside of military or law enforcement settings due to concerns over privacy and safety.
Document and classify wildlife
With over three-quarters of a million animals being classified as either endangered or protected, there is an ever growing demand to understand how they function and what parts are needed to survive.
Drones allow us to gather this information in a more efficient way than traditional means. By having drones do most of the work, we can save time and money!
Drone technology has advanced beyond just taking pictures and videos. Some use them to study aerial species patterns, track moving objects such as mammals, test animal reactions to new stimuli, and even determine if animals have breeding seasons.
These applications are not only helpful for scientists studying ecology and evolution, but also for those that focus on other fields like veterinary science, forensics, biology, and anthropology.
Track and study wildlife
Using drones to survey nature is an increasingly popular way to enjoy nature close up. Wildlife watchers have been using small, remote-controlled aircraft to get aerial views of landscapes and seascapes since at least the 1970s. These individuals usually fly in areas with little human activity, which limits how loud they are and what types of sounds you can hear.
With the use of technology like GPS, most models also provide information about where their flights take them. This allows people to connect the data collected to existing maps so they can visualize the landscape from above. Some even allow users to capture still pictures or video during flight!
Drone surveys don’t typically pose much risk to the environment, nor do they typically require permission. People mostly use drones for educational purposes, but some researchers may choose to test their model on endangered species or other protected environments.
There are several organizations that offer courses and certification for drone pilots, making this practice more accessible. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set regulations that make sure everyone who operates a drone does not endanger anyone or anything around them, but it also opens up many opportunities for professional usage.
Aid in natural disaster recovery
After major hurricanes or earthquakes, people are often hungry and looking to help those in need. Companies that offer aerial photographs and videos of damaged areas frequently use them to aid in relief efforts by identifying needed supplies or helping with fundraising.
Drone technology has advanced beyond just taking pictures to include ways to survey damage and evaluate needs. Some even have sensors that can measure air and water quality which is very important during an epidemic or flagging warning signs for disease spread.
These drones can be used for both government and non-profit funded projects so no one is left out! Before using any drone equipment, however, you must understand how to operate it safely and legally first.