Type of Job/Services Completed: Turbidity Monitoring for Dredging Project

Location of Job: Columbia, MD

The Problem

The client had a lake that was actively being dredged and needed to be monitored to ensure the increased turbidity (dirt, silt, and other suspended solids being kicked up by the dredging process) didn’t spread throughout the entire lake. They set up a silt curtain to contain the turbidity close to the dredging machinery.

ABJ Drones Solution

The ABJ Drones team flew over the lake and imaged it using a visual camera, a 5-band multispectral camera, and a thermal camera. We then created orthomosaics for each method, including reflectance maps and index maps for the multispectral camera and thermal camera. With both the visual and multispectral maps, the extent of the turbidity is clearly visible.

ABJ Drones Benefits

ABJ Drones offers a viable, cost-effective and efficient alternative to conventional water quality monitoring practices. Traditionally, testing and monitoring water quality is time consuming and often expensive.

Turbidity is traditionally measured by driving around in a small boat and checking visually while taking turbidity measurements off the side of the boat, or by paying for satellite imaging of the body of water to monitor the impact. The boat method is not ideal because you don’t have a great vantage point from the water and it’s difficult to see the true extent of the spread. You’re also limited by how many areas you check, so you don’t get any visual data.

Satellite imaging is another option, but in cases where the area is too small (like this lake) the resolution is too poor. Satellite imaging is typically on a scale of meters for the resolution, whereas by drone we can get down to a couple inches for multispectral data and a few centimeters for visual. Satellite imaging is also limited by cloud cover and timing.

Drone surveys can be completed in most conditions and at a moment’s notice. They can be done routinely on a consistent basis to track temporal changes as well.

Do you have a project that can be completed better and faster using drones? Contact us today!