Drones / Feed

Used to pick up signals from tracking gear on the ground, collect images of wildlife and habitats from the air, gather acoustic data with specialized hydrophones, or even collect snot samples from whales' blowholes, drones are capable of collecting high-resolution data quickly, noninvasively, and at relatively low cost.


ISO Speakers for Emerging Technologies class.

Hi Everyone, Apologies for posting across multiple groups.  I'm teaching a new course @ Clark University next semester on emerging technologies for conservation. The course...

2 0

Definitely interested! I'm in the ecoacoustics/acoustic monitoring space, working at Rainforest Connection and Arbimon.

See full post

Animal tracking stories

Do you have a wild animal tracking story that involves adventure or misadventure? Share it with us! From going around in circles for hours to discovering predators instead...

See full post

Using computer vision to understand bee vision

Here's an innovative project from the Harvey Mudd College Bee Lab that could help us understand how bees view their environments, and thus better protect bee habitat. This project uses computer vision and drone imagery to replicate "bee vision" of flowers and how it differs from a human's view of the same habitat.


Electrical Engineer (Remote)

We are a team of ecologists and technologists who believe good business must be good for nature. We’re building an economy that puts nature and business in balance by incentivising the restoration of nature at scale.

See full post

Researchers use taxidermy bird drones to monitor wildlife

Interesting project - “Our main goal for this is to develop a nature-friendly drone concept for wildlife monitoring,” Hassanalian said. “Traditional drones are often disruptive to ecosystems due to issues such as sound and unfamiliarity, so developing quieter, natural-looking alternatives could help wildlife monitoring and research.”


AI for Pelicans Challenge

In this Challenge, we will use AI to detect and classify pelicans in Romania's Danube Delta to evaluate the breeding population based on aerial photographs.

See full post

Drones for IUU (illegal fishing activities & vessel monitoring)

Hi, new to Wildlabs and happy to have found itI am currently working on drone design (fixed wing), for the purpose of monitoring illegal fishing vessels. This will be done via...

5 2

Hi Frank! Thanks so much for your reply. Yes I have been looking into the same sort of workflow as with camera traps etc and seem to be getting somewhere (although am yet to have my own data set with which to check!). 

Yes, with the transponder issue, actually NONE of the boats here have them! There has been a push to get boats to install them further down the coast, but it was marred by the usual corruption and forceless enforcement. So everything will be visual, rather than working on any signal given out by the boats themselves. I am looking into ai programs that can analyse footage and as you say, it can be done with species so I see no reason it cannot be done with vessels given the parameters to look for


Seeing the pictures that @lmccaskill uploaded got my brain storming, so to say. Are you working with similar small boats? I was assuming bigger fishing ships that are registered somewhere. If the boats are not registered and there are no existing photos of them, and you want to identify the individual boats, you'll need to build your own catalogue to train an AI.

However / in addition, if the boats have written text on them with a name or a code or number, like in the pictures, then it should be ridiculously easy to identify boats. No AI needed. I discovered recently that my laptop has started showing find results based on text in photos. If different boats are of the same model, again like in the pictures, then there is nothing else left than what is written on them ... well, perhaps the color scheme.

... or perhaps face recognition if the image quality allows it. But then you'll be at square 1 again with training an AI.

See full post

ML-ready datasets for aerial/drone wildlife surveys

I got inspired to collect a list of annotated, appear-to-be-ML-ready datasets related to drone/aerial wildlife surveys:...

2 4

Following up here... a few of us huddled virtually and assembled standardized metadata, standardized sample code, and sample annotated images for all the datasets on that list.  I don't know whether this exercise was useful, but it was fun!  

The URL hasn't changed, but I consider the list open for business now, let us know what we're missing:

See full post

Advice on afforable LiDAR scanners for Amazon forest surveys

Dear allFirstly, what a fantastic group! I love following the discussions on this site and am a true believer in the power of the crowd so am hoping someone might have the...

1 1

Hi Jeremy, 

With a quick search I've found the paper linked below. It looks like equipments such as Livox MID are sufficient for plot-level analyses, but not for individual trees. Also, it has performed worse in dense canopies and broadleaf forest, thus I believe we won't have a technology capable of doing what you aim for this amount of money (< $1000) in a few years from now.

I hope someone give us an alternative, though. :D




See full post

Exploring storage options for mass data collection

Hi all. I'm currently exploring options for data storage en masse. With our project we will be collecting 24hr hydrophone data, drone video 6hr per day, photography &...

2 0

Hi Adam!

I mostly live within the ecoacoustics space so I'll just speak on the hydrophone part of your request; Arbimon is a free web/cloud-based platform with unlimited storage for audio files. We've got an uploader app as well for mass-uploading lots of files. There's also a bunch of spectrogram visualization/annotation tools and analysis workflows available. It's AWS running under the hood.

I have some experience working directly with AWS & Microsoft Azure, and I've found personally that AWS was more user-friendly and intuitive for the (fairly simplistic) kinds of tasks I've done.  

See full post

Synergistic use of UAV surveys, satellite tracking data, and mark-recapture to estimate abundance of elusive species

We used a combination of high-resolution satellite tracking (Fastloc-GPS), uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) surveys, and capture-mark-recapture approaches to assess the abundance of immature hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in a tidal lagoon of the Chagos Archipelago (Indian Ocean).


Wildlife Conservation Drones & Technologies Summit 2023

Engage, learn from, and network with researchers, students, and other wildlife professionals from around the world that are using or interested in using drones to support wildlife conservation, management and research.

11 1
Hi Emmah,Thanks again for inquiring. At this time there is no plans for streaming of the presentations. I'm hoping in the future we can add this option but right now doesn't look...
We are looking forward to attending the event! 
That's Great! We're looking forward to the event and all of the networking and collaborations that might result from it! 
See full post

Computer Science student looking to work for wildlife

Hello everyone,I am a master student in Computer Science, with a specialization in AI and computer vision. I like to work with AI, computer vision, drones, sensors, autonomous...

7 0

Great information! Thank you for sharing this. I actually have Masters in Zoology and have done some field work in Marine Conservation. Since then I have worked in Science education and eventually switched to Software Programming. My dream has always been to work in Conservation, however life happened and I had to give up on this pipe dream. I currently work as a Developer in a contractor role for the Federal Government. Would someone with my experience have an advantage in conservation Tech?

I think the real demand in conservation tech is for transdisciplianry individuals. If you look at all the stand-out people in this space they are people who occupy multiple domains that are traditionally isolated. These are people who talk fluently in computer science and ecology, for example. Not only this, they are also people who create and imagine in ways that intertwin ideas and concepts across these domains. Its these people, thinking in these ways, that lead to innovations that really move us forward. Some of these people started out where you are now, having crossed domains through their career and then seeing opportunities to bring these skills together in imaginative ways. 

I couldn't agree more with both of these comments tom! I'm reading hundreds (literally hundreds) of applications for open WILDLABS roles at the moment, and the ones that stand out are those where it's really clear they're following genuine curiosity across different disciplines. If you're in conservation, it's the evidence of interest in tech (courses, projects, things you're trying and learning yourself). For tech, it's getting into conservation - all the things you mentioned. 

See full post

Drones for GIS - Best Practice

I thought I would share our best pratice document we created as part of the Drones for GIS project we we are running at the RSPB. The aim of the document is to provide insight...

13 0

We've just created a new version. General updates throughout


version notes


General refresh and update based on knowledge acquired over the last couple of years

Checked links

Updated CAA regulations, drone model advice including Yuneec, sensor advice (including thermal), classification advice, hydrological modelling advice, and nest survey info

This thread continues to be one of the most useful, evergreen resources - even 5+ years later! Who would have thought? 

I was speaking to a colleague from another conservation ngo last week - and it came out that she was having to start from scratch developing some consistent internal guidance to support staff members using drones. I've poiinted her here and it's already been super useful, but I'm curious if anyone has newer guidance they've developed to support drone use their organisation that they'd be able to share? If you've updated your guidance, what have you changed or found to be most important? 

Reinvigorating this thread might turn out to be super useful for lots of folk and save a lot of time in developing supporting documentation - I appreciate anyone who is able to share! 



Hi all,

I've been quickly developing in-house drone services in the UK for Providence Ecological and have found some useful information for building a workflow with Rich Charpentier's YouTube channel. There are loads of good resources on YouTube but Rich's channel seems to be more useful with regard to budget/free software etc. 

It has occurred to me that there may not be very good "Best Practice" guidance for drone pilots with regard to wildlife disturbance so when considering employing a drone pilot, please bear this in mind. It is useful to talk through their experience of avoiding/mitigating disturbance to wildlife during drone operations asnd provide guidance where you feel it is required. 

Hopefully this is helpful!

See full post

Reasonable price for drone pilot (south africa)?

Hi everyone, A colleague is looking for a cost check on going rates for drone pilots in South Africa. Is £500-£700 a day reasonable? They'd be flying drones in a project to...

4 0

Hi Steph

My partner is a drone pilot (wildlife specialist) based in France and has confirmed that your quote is what you should be expecting to pay a qualified pilot including the use of their gear - this will vary according to experience and equipment. He does not think that the prices will vary much country to country as the cost of equipment and qualification (professional) are fairly similar worldwide. It is also still a fairly niche profession and although there are many drone pilots out there, a professional licence is a whole other ball game so it’s not competitive enough to drive labour prices down.

If you have your own drone then you will be looking at the lower end of the quote as you should be covering the insurance and wear and tear the equipment will be subjected to during its use. If you are asking your pilot to bring and use their own equipment then the price will naturally increase depending on what you require to be used.

As Frank rightly surmised, the cost will reflect a host of behind the scenes factors that are part and parcel of being a freelancer in a specialist profession.

Hope this helps

See full post

Call for Data: A Global Database of Tree Crown Footprints from RGB Imagery

Hello! I am putting together a benchmark dataset for tree crown segmentation - do you have data and would you like to join our effort?Call for data: we're...

2 3

You should definitely talk with Ben Weinstein and co (the folks behind DeepForest), if you haven't already!

Bluesky have a commercial tree crown dataset available covering most of Great Britain (England, Wales and parts of Scotland). There is a canopy layer with approximate outlines of each canopy (the image on this page shows just circular crowns). It's created using aerial imagery.


See full post

How daredevil drones find nearly extinct plants hiding in cliffs

Nice article about one of the Rainforest XPrize semifinalist teams - using drones to sample plant species. 'Nyberg and the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) team, working with the State of Hawaii's Division of Forestry and Wildlife, have rediscovered three species thought to be extinct or locally extinct from Kauai and uncovered larger populations of many other critically endangered species with populations smaller than 100 individuals.'


Open Source Photogrammetry Software

Hi All,I'm searching for an open sourced photogrammetry software to swap out Pix4D/Agisoft/DroneDeploy. I've seen mention of OpenDroneMap, but I've struggled with getting it...

4 0

You might check out what's listed in the Directory - for example, DroneMapper, though this is paid (not sure if they'd give you any discount). The one I have heard most about is OpenDroneMap though. Or perhaps check out GeoNadir?  

Hi Lindy, ODM has a steep learning curve but is fantastic once you understand it. I have much better results than from commerical services, although we were just stitching fairly small (<10ha) areas.

Have a look at WebODM Lightning, this is a paid-for, but very cheap, processing service using ODM that is more similar to commercial services (upload your images, press go). You can upload using the web interface or a Windows app. 

Hi Lindy,

WebODM has now a native Windows installer version which costs around 147 $ once -

Is has almost all the advantages of the high priced softwares and even presets for some use cases.

Best regards!


See full post