The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in South Africa uses observers during aerial surveys to detect and count invasive alien plant species, which are a major threat to water resources, agricultural potential and biodiversity. Past experience suggests that these observers may fail to detect all invasive species in the survey area, the likelihood of which increases with the survey duration and is primarily due to observer fatigue. This qualitative approach presents challenges with regards to data accuracy and manpower optimization.
To increase data integrity the effects of observer fatigue during an aerial survey needed to be minimized. For this reason, Simera developed a high-resolution multiple-view camera system that can be fixed to an aircraft. Simera’s Multilook system captures high-resolution still images, while side- and forward-looking cameras capture high-definition (HD) video of the environment. The rugged system was also fitted with an internal inertial measurement unit (IMU), laser range finder and GPS sensor to ensure that stills and video data can be overlaid accurately onto maps.
Simera delivered a lightweight design with one Nadir 10MP camera and three HD video cameras with up to 1TB storage capability. The system allows ARC researchers to play back aerial survey data that provides greater insight to and perspective on the environment, to achieve greater coverage of the area, to train new researchers and to identify potential new survey sites. Furthermore, the ARC was able to test and validate the system successfully on an aircraft, gaining valuable remote sensing system knowledge for future missions.