An Accidental Start
While drone technology is now an essential part of AIMS' standard operating procedures, it first began as an experiment, fueled by an individual drone enthusiast's curiosity. At first, a Communications Lead worked with AIMS' Chief Pilot, Joe Gioffre, to capture promotional images with a GoPro mounted onto a drone. Seeing the potential for serious data capture, another Technology Transformation Lead used the drone to take images of mangroves. After beginning a free trial with us in 2015, the same lead chose to invest in DroneDeploy for its ease-of-use, flight waypoints, and data processing support - an all-in-one package.
Soon after, AIMS began conducting more and more drone flights to cover vast expanses of coral reefs along both the east and western coasts of Northern Australia. This imagery is primarily used to track the coral's health and elevation information, which identified how it responded to various environmental stressors. With this high-resolution data to consult, researchers are now able to pinpoint which species of coral are growing well or being bleached – and at what locations.