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Unmanned aircraft systems enable quick and efficient environmental monitoring and airborne mapping

Photo: COWI
As one of the first consulting companies in Denmark, COWI has been authorized to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial purposes. This will make the airborne mapping of small geographical areas, the recording of environmental changes in the landscape as well as the energy efficient renovation of buildings a lot easier in the future.

An overview image of a housing area after a flood, monitor rush hour traffic, or reconnoitre a field before starting of land development.

With the new UAS technology, it has become easy to gain a quick overview of smaller geographical areas and not least documenting a development process over time, as the UAS are much faster and cheaper to get on the wings than the traditional aircraft that is normally used for aerial photography purposes.

"The UAS are the perfect tool to give a quick here-and-now view of smaller geographical areas and hot-spots such as coastal stretches of sand drift, flooded areas or large construction sites. In principle, only the imagination limits to what we can use the UAS for ", says Jesper Falk, head of surveying in COWI Denmark.


Benefit of the environment

The UAS in COWI are acquired to the benefit of the environment. They are small and battery powered and do not emit any CO2 at all.

Today e.g. COWI is using UAS for monitoring the vegetation of one of Denmark's endangered wetlands, which is under restoration. The modest size of the UAS make them suited to fly over landscapes and coastal areas, where it is difficult to get access, and they are non the less ideal to use for mapping and monitoring of the cities, which are often densely populated and crowded.

As one of the next steps COWI will equip UAS with thermal infrared cameras that can detect heat emissions from buildings or district heating pipelines, and thus form the basis for efficient energy renovation.

 

LAST UPDATED: 16.09.2016