GUS at IAIA15 Conference - Impact Assessment in the Digital Era

GUS will be at the IAIA15 "Impact Assessment in the Digital Era" Conference on the 22nd April in Florence, Italy, discussing UAVs in the development of ESHIAs. Come and hear our talk!

Conference Abstract: Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the development of ESHIAs

The scope and complexity of ESHIAs continues to expand, as does their preparation time and cost. It is therefore incumbent on ESHIA practitioners to focus on key aspects, risks and potential impacts, and look for opportunities to acquire relevant, high quality data that will facilitate a better determination of impacts while at the same time deliver better value to clients and a better product to other stakeholders. This paper will illustrate how UAV technologies offer a raft of choices with respect to data acquisition that in turn have the potential to lead to more relevant and useful data sets, and more accurate, integrated and multidisciplinary assessments.

Key choices relate to:

  • Resolution: highly flexible, but potentially very high resolution
  • Sensors: visible, multispectral and thermal
  • Timing: virtually total control over when images are captured
  • Accuracy: geometrically corrected to decimetre accuracies (horizontal and vertical planes)
  • Targets: unimpeded access to: fragile areas where conventional field surveys may result in damage (inter-tidal zones;sensitive targets (bird colonies);poor or inaccessible targets (cliff faces, wetlands)
  • Health and safety: reduced exposure of field teams to dangerous situations
  • Change detection: Automated monitoring at flexible repeat intervals

The optimum combination of variables will depend on the objective or intended use of data. The use of UAVs, in combination with traditional forms of data acquisition, and coupled with efficient data dissemination and management systems (including GIS) potentially leads to more accurate assessments of impacts, reduced risks and costs, as well as enhanced environmental and social outcomes.