Evaluation of Unoccupied Aircraft Systems (UASs) as an Alternative Data Collection Platform for Monitoring Marine Mammals


Project Goals ¿ To develop methods to evaluate unoccupied aircraft systems (UAS, aka drones) as an alternative data collection platform for monitoring marine mammals including harbor seals, sea otters, and their habitats in Glacier Bay National Park (GLBA) and Wrangell St.


National Park (WRST), Alaska, to facilitate long-term population monitoring and to improve the safety, integration, and efficiency of future data collection efforts.


Project Objectives ¿ i.

To determine appropriate UAS platform and sensor combinations, develop sampling methods, and conduct surveys to collect digital imagery of harbor seals, sea otters, and their habitats including glacier ice.


To produce a written evaluation including a peer-reviewed publication that compares UAS platforms and occupied platforms for monitoring harbor seals, sea otters, and their habitats including glacier ice.


Based on the results of the above evaluation, select the most appropriate UAS platform and sensor combinations to meet current needs, and collaborate with NPS to produce a set of standard operating procedures that describes methods for using UASs to monitor marine mammals in GLBA and WRST.
Agency: Department of the Interior

Office: National Park Service

Estimated Funding: $49,917

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