The urban / suburban forests of the world are in constant flux. To regularly monitor the status of vegetation near industrial sites requires regular inspection. During and after storms, high winds and natural disasters, situations can change rapidly. It has become a routine chore to regularly survey vegetation levels near critical infrastructure like power lines, security fences and gas pipelines.
Generally, full scale aircraft are used to survey large swaths of area. Sparse 3D measurements are taken of very large areas. Drones are best deployed to perform dangerous tasks, provide higher resolution imagery or data for specific areas.
Useful Techniques used by Drones for Vegetation Management:
- LIDAR Measurement Surveys
- precise measurements of vegetation and proximity to assets
- 3D modeling of existing vegetation for bidding purposes
- HD/UHD/4K/6K/8K High Resolution Visual Surveys
- Recording of photogrammetry for historical purposes
- Disaster documentation
- Detailed closeups of specific assets
- Lifetime management of forests
- Hyper-spectral & Specialized cameras
- Chloroform specific camera models to detect dying or dead vegetation
Vegetation surveys are also performed to monitor the quantity of fuels in the different fire dangers. This is particularly prevalent in the drought stricken Western United States, Canada and Mexico. The combination of drought and increased population on the interfaces of open-spaces has put property and equipment directly in the path of fires.
All power companies have Vegetation Management divisions within their organizations to conduct these surveys. Each utility may be monitoring hundreds of thousands of miles / kilometers of transmission lines, gas distribution lines and main trunk lines every single year.