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The "Epic Duck Challenge: Drones Launch Environmental Management Into a New Era

Jarrod Hodgson

University of Adelaide


Scientists and environmental managers are increasingly using technology to improve the quality of data collected on wildlife, particularly for assessing the environmental impacts of human activities. Drones are o en considered to be a cost effective way to collect high quality wildlife population data, however, the validity of these claims is unclear. So, Jarrod Hodgson gathered a flock of researchers
from the University of Adelaide, Monash University and the Australian Antarctic Division, and the #EpicDuckChallenge took flight.

Using life-sized seabird colonies containing a known number of replica birds, their research showed that drone-derived data are, on average, between 43% and 96% more accurate than the traditional ground-based collection method. They also demonstrated that counts from this remotely sensed imagery can be semi-automated using computer vision techniques. 

Jarrod will present the results of this research project and associated work. Join him for a discussion about the benefits of using drones for wildlife conservation and learn how this technology is advancing environmental management.