Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

In mid-August last year, Adam Fenech took me to the drone port, a wide-mouthed annex at one end of the brand new Canadian Center for Climate Change and Adaptation on Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province, population 157,000. Data collected here, as well as at many other sites around PEI, is used to measure the impacts of climate change on the island and help it adapt.

“It’s like Mission: Impossible in there,” Fenech told The Daily Beast. “We have the largest fleet of drones in the country. Most are tiny, but we also have the largest—the Phoenix Terrahawk, a fixed wing, plane-like drone with a 13-foot wingspan.”

Then there’s the DJI Matrice, a quadcopter with a 2.6 pound payload capacity—“our big workhorse,” said Fenech. “We can load a couple of cameras, including a thermal camera. The Harris Carrier, a heavy-lift gas-electric hybrid drone powered by six blades, can handle our LIDAR unit,…