Southampton Solent University Uses UAVs to Protect East Head

Environment experts from Southampton Solent University have been using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to provide the National Trust (NT) with information on the erosion and deposition of the environmentally sensitive area they manage at East Head near West Wittering.

East Head is a significantly dynamic coastal feature at the western side of the mouth to Chichester Harbor, the Southampton Solent University said in its latest release.

“As part of an Adaptive Management strategy for coastal defense it is important to have up to date and regular data on changes to the landscape,” said Dr Paul Wright, Head of Environment and Geography studies at Solent.

“This survey allows the area’s National Trust’s Countryside team to decide upon their strategy for boardwalk replacement and path management,” added Mr Wright.

“Further processing of the data will give us a 3D model that can be used to create video flythroughs and, more importantly, comparative 3D models that will show not just loss/gain of area, but also of volume. This might help in planning any future work needed to conserve the area.”

Using the Sensefly eBee UAV with an onboard camera, the team from Solent University have been able to collect over 400 images in just three hours, as opposed to the weeks it would take to get data of similar accuracy and detail using traditional tools and techniques.

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