Every day, drones are used to make people’s lives easier. They have a number of applications across dozens of industries, and are used to make tasks more time efficient, financially efficient, and in some cases, to save lives. Drone’s have the capability to change how we work for the better. To put it simply - drones are tools, not toys.
LiDAR technology, as discussed in previous installments, is a crucial tool in the construction industry, providing accurate three-dimensional maps of buildings and structures. However, the LiDAR technology is not limited to man-made structures. Natural landmarks, like the Clover Run trout stream in Tucker County, West Virginia, can be mapped as well for restoration purposes.
The Clover Run stream is located on the P4 Outdoor Resort, a getaway for wounded veterans and their families, in West Virginia. After years of human influence and flood flows eroding the stream’s banks, the waterway has begun to compromise the integrity of the surrounding structures. A restoration initiative for the stream was started in December 2019, led by the WVU Natural Resource Analysis Center and is still underway today. The team identified the main goal of the project as repairing the failed stream bank.
The restoration efforts began by using a LiDAR equipped drone to document the condition of the stream at the time. The drone mapped the entire stream in just 20 minutes, flying at 18 miles per hour and 262 feet above the ground. This invaluable, otherwise unobtainable information was gathered in less than a half hour because of the LiDAR and drone technology.
To monitor the health of the stream and measure the efficacy of the structures installed, the Clover Run stream will be surveyed by drone once a year, providing the same highly accurate, high-resolution 3D imagery for comparison.