Aerial Image Above Muskegon County Wastewater System
The AWRI Information Services Center began its program of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) development in 2008. Our interests include the assessment of land use/land cover change and in particular how this change relates to our changing climate. Our work in watershed management led us to consider UAV use for erosion detection, riparian stream management, identification of failing septic systems, macrophyte surveys, invasive species inventories, and predictive modeling of Hazardous Algae Blooms (HABs). We were looking for a tool that could supplement current satellite imagery and conventional aerial photography. Our goal was to create a UAV system that was low cost, easy to maintain and operate, and in the end would have practical application for non-profit organizations, lake associations, and citizen scientists.