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The first session of the fieldtrip series has been successfully carried out, which is a part of a new collaborative $1.3 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). supports Citizen Science GIS at University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF portion of the project uses Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), i.e. drones, to measure eelgrass meadow extent, patchiness, and dynamics through time. Drone imagery will be collected at least annually in coordination with in situ sampling which will also be used to validate the imagery by ground-truthing across a range of points within each meadow.

UCF Drone team working with UW and Cornell

The first fieldtrip was carried out in Friday Harbor, WA. The UCF drone team used UAS/drone technology to do the eelgrass mapping. Dr. Drew Harvell, Olivia, Lillian, and Morgan from UW and Cornell supported the in situ measurement collection.

UCF drone Team (Bo Yang, Michael, and Hunter)

The UCF drone team arrived at Friday Harbor on June 3. The drone mapping was carried out for 5 of the eelgrass sites from June 4-7. We finished the mapping for 5 sites in 4 days.

Study region, Puget Sound and Friday Harbor, WA

Eelgrass sites map

False Bay and Indian Cove were mapped on June 4.

Beach Haven was mapped on June 5.

Fourth of July Bay was mapped on June 6.

North Cove was mapped on June 7.

Living at Friday Harbor Laboratory

The UCF drone team also developed training courses to share with the UW and Cornell teams on how to fly drones for collecting data and performing data analysis in Geographical Information Science (GIS) and Drone2Map from Esri. This training course contains topics on flying DJI drones, Preflight & Planning, FAA part 107 examination, Drone2map user guide, and ArcGIS based drone image analyses.

All transects of the False Bay, spaced by 4 m between shallow and deep

Esri Drone2map and Pix4D were used to process the drone mapping imagery. The image stitching and geo-referencing processes were performed to generate a map with coordinates for the eelgrass mapping and GIS analysis.

Eelgrass (left) and Algae (right)

A crab discovered from the inter-tidal area.

Algae and Marine animal

The UCF drone team successfully finished the drone mapping for the eelgrass site in Washington. The next sites are Coos Bay and Yaquina Bay in Oregon. Stay tuned for more from #citizensciencegis

All research imagery collected with FAA Part 107 pilots with permits and authorizations where necessary.

See below for the vlog (edit by Michael Feinman) of the field trip, follow us on Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook for #citizensciencegis