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Poole Harbour aerial surveys

Poole Harbour algal mat aerial surveys

Client: Natural England

BUG was commissioned by Natural England to conduct monthly aerial surveys at four intertidal locations within Poole Harbour to assess the coverage, growth and die-back of algal mats.


Surveys were conducted using a Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS), or drone, to collect high resolution imagery from an altitude of 50 m, providing a ground resolution of 2.1 cm/pixel. Four bays around Poole Harbour were surveyed; Brand’s Bay, Newton Bay, Arne Bay and Holes Bay during 2017 and 2018.


For each survey, the collected images were stitched together into a high resolution geo-referenced orthomosaic, which can then be imported into GIS software for assessing the change in distribution and abundance of algal mat coverage throughout the season.

Using drones for rapid collection of high resolution geo-referenced imagery is proving to be a very efficient and cost-effective way of assessing and managing natural habitats.

4 survey locations | 7 months | 49 drone flights | 16,000 images captured

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