Tyler Cowdrey's Poster Presentation: Mapping Bull Kelp Forests of Puget Sound with Consumer-Level UAV Imaging Platforms

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February 9, 2021
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Background and research question screen shot from Tyler Cowdrey's Poster Presentation: Mapping Bull Kelp Forests of Puget Sound with Consumer-Level UAV Imaging Platforms

Did you miss the thesis poster presentations last Fall Quarter 2020? This week we are highlighting Tyler Cowdrey’s poster presentation on the decrease of Bull Kelp Forests in the South and Central Puget Sound regions with collaboration from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. This quarter, Tyler was able to present his poster at the National Council for Science and the Environment 2020 Drawdown Conference. During his research Tyler found that there was a large gap in previous data that relied on traditional survey methods. To address this, he relied on GIS data mapping and created a pilot project that included 18 aerial surveys that were flown over 8 different bull kelp beds. GIS mapping is unique in that it offers moderate aerial coverage with high resolution imagery and can be deployed quickly from land or boat.

 

Tyler’s research asked the question, can imagery captured using consumer-level UAV’s produce accurate maps of floating bull kelp? Environmental concerns are what brought him to this research and utilizing GIS mapping could be the answer. The preliminary results from his research have yielded promising results! While evidence of spatial distortion can still be found, these inaccuracies can be decreased by using a combination of manual photo alignment and DEM smoothing. We are confident that with further research, and an onslaught of sunnier days, Tyler will have great news with his final results.

 

Be sure to check out Tyler’s poster presentation video and keep an eye out for further developments.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMLab2NAdfE&feature=emb_title