Educational drone survey of canopy targets sick trees
Drones could help save Winnipeg’s elm trees from being tagged with a fatal orange mark, owing to the work of experienced pilots and their student assistants.
Throughout the 2021-22 school year, Volatus Aerospace Corp., a so-called “drone solution company,” has recruited high school students to take part in a research project that aims to streamline canopy surveillance in Winnipeg.
City employees typically survey trees for Dutch elm disease either on foot or by driving past them. It’s a laborious process — and by the time a human eye can spot wilting, curling or yellowing leaves, it may be too late to reverse the damage caused by the fungal infection.
In partnership with the City of Winnipeg, University of Winnipeg and Seven Oaks School Division, Volatus is using drone technology to try and speed up the diagnosis process.
A remote aircraft equipped with a parachute and sensors, a set-up valued at nearly $40,000, can measure how much near-infrared light bounces off leaves to…