At the beginning of August 2017, we received the visit of Dr. Ricardo Diaz-Delgado from Doñana Biological Station-CSIC, Sevilla, Spain. His visit was funded under the eLTER H2020 project’s scheme as a training activity entitled Proximal REmote Sensing for Wetlands Ecological Mapping.
Remote sensing and mapping of ecological meaningful variables, using drones provides useful information on trends and changes in Ecosystem Service (ES) and ecosystem functioning, but also provide fast ground-truth data for validation of lower scale remote sensing products.
Together with our colleagues from the National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry “Marin Drăcea” and University of Galati and with the support of Natural Park Braila Island (an LTSER site) we spent 10 days in the field in Braila and in Bucegi Piatra Craiului National Park, in order to assess the applicability of drone usage in monitoring and assessment of ecosystem status (delineating water cover, mapping water turbidity, water depth and aquatic plant cover, vegetation indices etc.,).
Dr. Ricardo Diaz- Delgado presented us with:
- the pros and cons of using drones for remote sensing in ecosystem monitoring,
- different types of available sensors and their applicability for vegetation monitoring or fauna surveys,
- how to design a flight plan
- available software for data analysis.
The first results of the summer school were:
- planning of a flight mission, using a DJI Phantom 4 drone equipped with a multi-spectral sensor for vegetation monitoring in the Small Braila Island Natural Park.
- obtained aerial images from the drone where further analysed using Agisoft Photoscan in order to obtain the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) index for the surveyed area.