San Salvador, Bahamas
Rapid Assessment of Hurricane joaquin coastal impact
In early October 2015, Hurricane Joaquin reached San Salvador at Category 3 intensity, inflicting significant infrastructure damage and severing basic services for weeks. Faculty and student researchers from Smith, U. Conn., FL Gulf Coast U., and Temple headed to the Bahamas the following January to assess the extent of the impact. The group wanted to address questions such as variations in geomorphological changes, the severity of coastal erosion/deposition, and how drones can be used as a rapid response tool.
The team conducted aerial surveys in conjunction with ground-based surveys in nine study sites along the island perimeter. We used the DJI Phantom 3 Advanced, complemented with the DJI Go and DJI Map Pilot apps for mission planning, and derived Digital Surface Models (DSM) and orthomosaics in Pix4D.
The Digital Surface Models allowed analysis of beach profiles, which suggested that San Salvador had major swash and collision impact. The high-resolution imagery also enabled feature identification such as dunes and boulders. See an example of a high-resolution orthomosaic imagery of the Gulf Coast site.
Read more about this project.
Popham beach, Maine
Recurring analysis of beach sedimentation at Popham Beach state park
Since 2016, Professor Bob Newton and his Geomorphology students have embarked on a weekend research trip every spring to document the changes happening to the local attraction. The students conduct background and field work that culminates in a final report submitted to the park manager to inform state coastal agencies such as the Maine Natural Areas Program, Maine Coastal Program, and the Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands.
The beach survey consisted of measuring transects with high-accuracy total station in conjunction with analyzing Digital Elevation Models (DEM) derived from drone mapping. The research aims to address the resiliency and adaptability of the state park to sea-level rise.
We used the DJI Phantom 4 Pro (automated missions) and DJI Mavic (photography & film). The flights were planned in DroneDeploy and captured data were processed in Pix4D; additional analysis were conducted in ArcGIS. View the composited flights for full coverage here.
Read more about the project.
Saint Catherines Island, Georgia
Mapping Tortoise Burrows & Sea Turtle Tracks
In the spring of 2017, the Spatial Analysis Lab collaborated with the Kashmir World Foundation and the Georgia Southern University Sea Turtle Program to map tortoise burrow locations and sea turtle tracks.
Watch a short film documenting the trip and learn more about our methods.
Some of our Growing Fleet
Classes & Events
- Aerial Imagery & Cinematography (IDP 109; Fall 2018, 19, and 2021 planned)
- Aerial Imagery & Cinematography (NERCOMP Workshop; June 6-8, 2018, 19)
- Sensing Drones (Summer Science & Engineering Program 2017 & 2018)
- Drone Thinking / Fun with Drones (Interterm 2017 & 2018)
- Short term Kahn - Drones: Power, Play, Policy & Pedagogy (Fall 2019)
- Our First Drone Film Festival (2019)
- Enhanced sensing capabilities with add-on sensors (e.g. Infrared)
- Real-time Kinematic GPS with Emlid Reach
- Additional sensors for environmental monitoring (Thermal and Multispectral)
- Design #alt Drones@Smith (a design thinking curricular enhancement grant)
- Spatial MacLeish - imagining a new course or set of workshops centered on field data collection at the MacLeish Field Station