Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Drones and Natural Resource Management

Wednesday March 27, 2019  12:00pm-1:00pm

The Old Church - Smithers, BC

About this presentation

This presentation will cover the entire landscape of drones in natural resource management, including regulations, technology, applications and the evaluation of derived products.

New Regulations from Transport Canada coming into force this June will simplify and reduce restrictions for flying drones. This could enable drone technology to be applied to many elements of natural resource management from enhancing situational awareness by gaining an aerial perspective of a field site all the way through detailed survey and mapping. Drones are well suited to the characterization of sites but do have some constraints on their applicability to landscape level projects. Results will be presented from a current research project investigating the differences between the various drones in the BC Government fleet and some of the applications available to transform still images into orthophotographs and digital elevation models.

About Matt Sakals, PhD PGeo

Matt Sakals has been conducting research on hydrogeomorphology issues in Northwest BC and throughout the province for 20 years. His areas of specialization include shallow landslides, root reinforcement, alluvial fans, risk, and recently his research led him to using Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS or drones). Matt is currently the Chief Pilot for RPAS for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and leads a team of over 100 pilots and a fleet of over 60 drones. Matt completed his doctorate in 2010, has been a Professional Geoscientist since 2005 and is currently the Research Geomorphologist with the BC Government in Smithers, BC.

Relevance in Northwest BC

The rugged and remote landscape of the northwest could benefit strongly from the use of drones. The collection of high quality data that may otherwise be lacking, enhancing situational awareness leading to more effective ground work at difficult sites, and maintaining safe working conditions in potentially hazardous situations are a few reasons drones are particularly relevant to the northwest.