Publications page

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With the increase in the use of drones for conservation and environmental research we thought it would be useful to share our list of papers on these topics. Therefore we just added a… Continue reading

Using conservationdrone images to automatically count oil-palm trees using the spatial modeller in ERDAS IMAGINE 2015

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ConservationDrones.org provided images to Sterling Geo to develop an automated method for counting palm trees from UAV imagery using ERDAS IMAGINE 2015 Spatial Modeller. For further information visit http://www.sterlinggeo.com The Sterling Geo team… Continue reading

UAV and Environmental Research Conference at LJMU in Liverpool

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From 7-8 July the 2nd UAV and Environmental Research Conference will be held at in Liverpool. The conference is co-organized by Serge Wich from ConservationDrones.org and LJMU. More information is available here. Places are… Continue reading

View from Above – Using Drones to Help Support The Jane Goodall Institute’s Conservation Efforts in Congo

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In collaboration with Ready-to-Drone, Conservation Drones (Technical Director, Jeff Kerby) recently traveled to Congo to train staff from the Jane Goodall Institute on how to fly their new mapping and surveying drone. Here… Continue reading

New exciting collaboration between Conservation International and Conservationdrones

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To assist in protecting the Central Suriname Nature Reserve we are collaborating with Conservation International Suriname. Conservation International prepared this video about the project.  

‘Data Mule’ Drone is the national champion in Dubai’s Drones for Good competition

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Those of you who have watched our TED talk in 2013 would remember our wish for a drone that can remotely download images from camera traps in a forest – a ‘data mule’ drone. Fast forward… Continue reading

FLIR + ThermalCapture setup

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Just received the FLIR Tau 2 640 (9mm, f/1.4, 9 Hz) + ThermalCapture unit from TeAx Technology (sales@teax-tec.de). This is a short video showing how I am setting it up to be carried… Continue reading

Identifying illegal logging in drone imagery using Google Earth Engine

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A quick demonstration of on-the-fly land-cover classification of drone-derived orthomosaics using Google Earth Engine for the purpose of delineating illegally logged areas.

ConservationDrones teaming up with Dutch UAS

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  Dutch UAS and ConservationDrones are combining expertise to develop a fixed-wing drone with a user-interface that automatically detects people and rhinos. The aim is to provide a ranger with a tool that will… Continue reading

How to find a downed drone in a rainforest?

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For Graham Usher of the SOCP, he flew another drone to locate it! (See if you find it in this image!)

Al Jazeera – Conservation Drones

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Conservation Drones Recycling Bin

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ConservationDrones.org has benefited tremendously from the generous support of many groups. We are launching a new initiative to pay this forward. If you have ‘preloved’ drone equipment in working order that are just… Continue reading

ConservationDrones Joining Forces with Google Earth Outreach

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We are partnering with the fantastic folks at Google Maps Engine and Google Earth Engine to host and process data from our drone missions. This will make it easier for researchers and conservation… Continue reading

Testing the ThermalCapture – A Backpack Digital Recorder for FLIR Tau 2 Cores

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(Right-click here to download the first RAW video file in its native 324 resolution.) (Right-click here to download the second RAW video file in its native 324 resolution.) ConservationDrones tested a backpack for… Continue reading

Evidence of illegal logging activity detected by conservation drones in Gunung Leuser National Park

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The ConservationDrones Asia Team and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) flew two separate missions over a part of the Gunung Leuser National Park (Indonesia) between two time periods barely a few months… Continue reading

Scotland revisited

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The conservationdrones team (Brenden Duffy and Serge Wich) returned to Scotland more than a year after the first trip. The aim of this trip was to train Dr. Larry Griffin of the Wildfowl… Continue reading

Raven Thermal Imaging camera test

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We often get asked whether thermal imaging cameras can be used on drones. A while ago we tested a FLIR camera. Now we tested a Raven 640 from Xenics (http://www.xenics.com). The camera worked… Continue reading

ConservationDrones Flight School

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The ConservationDrones team is planning to run occasional, centralized training workshops on the use of conservation drones — our very own flight school! Visit this page for more information, and to register your interest.

Mapping with a GoPro underneath the Iris

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  We were curious whether GoPro images could be used for a photomosaic using the Iris quadcopter and Pix4Dmaper. So we put it to the tests and you can see the results in… Continue reading

Conservation Drones featured in Conservation Biology Textbook

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The latest edition of Primack’s Essentials of Conservation Biology is out. And it contains a feature on Conservation Drones! We are a step closer to our vision of making conservation drones a part… Continue reading

Latest conservation drone model achieves 100-km flight distance!

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We are excited to announce that Keeyen Pang, ConservationDrones’ Director for Asia Operations, has just achieved a 100-km long and almost 2-hr endurance autonomous flight in a single mission.  What this means is that conservation drones are now… Continue reading

Conservation drones for seabird monitoring

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A research team led by Jarrod Hodgson and Rohan Clarke from Monash University is partnering with ConservationDrones to use UAVs for seabird monitoring. Jarrod and Rohan have just returned from a successful trip to… Continue reading

Raptor Reborn!

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People often ask us about the lifespan of our drones. It really depends on many factors: the material and build of the drones, the terrain, how frequent it is used and so on.… Continue reading

PhD position for UAV research available at Liverpool John Moores University

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A PhD position is available for UAV research at Liverpool John Moores University. This PhD will be co-supervised by Serge Wich from ConservationDrones and be closely linked to work the ConservaitonDrones team is doing.… Continue reading

FFI Conservation Drone in ULU MASEN

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ConservationDrones.org is proud to help kick-start Fauna and Flora International‘s conservation drone program in Aceh.

6th Graders collaborate with ConservationDrones.org

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This is somewhat of an unusual post for us. Maintaining ConservationDrones.org is a very time-consuming and exhausting task for the four of us who are taking time off our ‘real’ day jobs to… Continue reading

Behind-the-scenes look at a three-day drone building party

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The four directors of ConservationDrones.org physically met for the first time the weekend before Christmas 2013 to build 10 conservation drones ‘Caipy’ for WWF. We spent two days to complete the builds and… Continue reading

ConservationDrones Test-Flies 3DRobotics’ Y6 Multicopter

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In our most recent drone trip, the ConservationDrones team brought along with us a Y6 Multicopter to SE Asia (http://3DRobotics.com). And it was a good thing we did because we were having some… Continue reading

That time National Geographic followed ConservationDrones to the field

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(Click here for the National Geographic article accompanying the video clip)

A drone’s-eye view of conservation

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ConservationDrones.org is among 100 of the world’s most inspiring social tech ventures

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ConservationDrones is proud to be among the Nominet Trust 100 of the world’s most inspiring social innovations using digital technology, together with other social ventures such as BitTorrent, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Github, Ushahidi, Kickstarter,… Continue reading

Second anti-poaching video drone for Nepal

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ConservationDrones.org‘s latest UAVs were recently deployed in Chitwan National Park in Nepal. We featured one of them, the Caipy video drone, in our last post (850 mm wingspan). Here is its big brother,… Continue reading

New Anti-Poaching Video Surveillance Drones for Nepal

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ConservationDrones.org has been working closely with WWF Nepal for the past year or so, supported by the WWF AREAS Programme. One of our long-term goals is to reduce training time for new drone… Continue reading

Conservation Drones over Barro Colorado Island, Panama

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Lian Pin Koh (ConservationDrones.org) and Brenden Duffy (FlightRiot.com) went on a trip to Barro Colorado Island, Panama, upon the invitation of Dr. Helene Muller-Landau from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. We brought two units of… Continue reading

Girls, boys and their toys!

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Simon Wunderlin, the Technical Director of ConservationDrones.org, has been testing several new airframes for the next generation of our drones. This work is funded by WWF Netherlands/International. We are developing this new system… Continue reading

Tropical Montane Forests

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DEVELOPING A NEW CONSERVATION DRONE

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ConservationDrones.org recently received a small grant from WWF to develop a rugged drone for use in difficult terrain and landing conditions. This is just a teaser of one of the airframes in testing… Continue reading

Conservation Drones used in fight against destruction of elephant habitats in Sumatra

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Fast forward to 5:50 for part on drone use.

Vegetation Monitoring UAV – Greenland

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Vegetation Monitoring UAV – Greenland from jtk on Vimeo. (Re-post from Jeff Kerby @ http://vimeo.com/69579388) To better understand arctic herbivore foraging ecology, we need information about the timing of plant growth (i.e. plant phenology)… Continue reading

High Altitude Flight Test

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ConservationDrones.org tested the vertical limit of the Techpod in open ocean and 30-40 km per hour wind conditions. We were aiming to reach 1 km above sea level. But the motor gave up… Continue reading

Marine Conservation Drones

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ConservationDrones.org went to Glover’s Reef in Belize upon the invitation of the Belize Fisheries Department and Wildlife Conservation Society. We explored the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for supporting enforcement of marine conservation… Continue reading

Conservation Drones in US Fish & Wildlife Service Webinar Series

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Click here to go to the Conservation Science Webinar Series Archive.

Techpod Drone ready-to-fly to Belize!

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Earlier this year, Wayne Garris from the Kickstarter project, HobbyUAV.com, donated two Techpods to ConservationDrones.org. I finally just had the time to build one up, equipped with an APM 2.5+ autopilot system. This… Continue reading

Eye in the sky quadcopter drone in Aras Napal, Sumatra, Indonesia

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*Unedited raw video footage See: http://ConservationDrones.org

Drone footage of fire aftermath in peatlands of Tripa, Sumatra, Indonesia

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*Unedited raw video footage This video was from a short drone flight last year (2012) in the peatlands of Tripa. It shows burnt areas cleared for new oil palm plantations. This drone mission… Continue reading

Drone flight over orangutan re-introduction site in Jantho, Aceh

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*Unedited raw video footage Drone operator: Graham Usher from Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme Drone: Raptor with APM Read about the efforts of the SOCP at re-introducing orangutans: http://www.orangutan.com/from-the-forest-jantho-aceh-besar-sumatra-2011/

Conservation Drones in Scotland

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ResearchDrones and ConservationDrones recently went to the amazingly beautiful Caerlaverock wetland area in Scotland. We were helping the Scottish Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust explore the potential of conservation drones for their conservation work.… Continue reading

Droning in Cambodia: Training Birdlife, ELIE, CI & WCS

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Simon Wunderli from ResearchDrones and Serge Wich from ConservationDrones were in Cambodia in April 2013 for BirdLife, Elephants Livelihood Environment Initiative (ELIE), Conservation International (CI) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Featuring the ResearchDrones… Continue reading

3D Model of Oil Palm Landscape created with Drone Imagery

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3D model and fly-through created by Serge Wich using PIX4D and ESRI 3D ArcScene. Drone Imagery from Keeyen Pang. This is a 3D model animation of an oil palm mosaic in Sabah. A… Continue reading

Tiger Drone Test Flight Video

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Airframe: Finwing Universeye Penguin Autopilot: APM 2.5+ with Power module GPS: 3DR LEA 6 Telemetry: 3DR 915 Mhz Motor: Finwing stock M2220 1350kv Propeller: Master Airscrew 3-bladed 9 x 7 Pusher ESC: Finwing… Continue reading

Princeton Tiger Drone!

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Lian Pin has just moved to New Jersey to begin his year-long sabbatical at Princeton University, his alma mater. He has just finished building the first Conservation Drone in America, which is called… Continue reading

Oil Palm Landscape Mapped by Drone

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Keeyen (our Asia team member) used his Skywalker 1900 equipped with an APM 2 and Canon S100 to map an oil palm estate owned by a friend. Keeyen’s Skywalker was able to track… Continue reading

A Story About Madagascar From Aboard A Drone

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This is a 15-minute short film about Zuzana’s journey across parts of Madagascar with a drone, shining a spotlight on environmental and livelihood issues on the red island. It is a fascinating and… Continue reading

Madagascar Drone Missions

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Madagascar Team Leader and Drone operator: Zuzana Burivalova (PhD candidate) Applied Ecology & Conservation Lab, ETH Zurich With support from: Dr Martin Bauert, ZOO Zurich Wildlife Conservation Society Madagascar Madagascar National Parks Tom… Continue reading

Video diary: Drone training in Odzala, Congo

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0:36 Mission planning 1:32 Takeoff 1:46 On-board cam takeoff 2:08 low flyby 2:53 Landing 3:47 Auto take off from platform 4:40 Spotting fires 5:40 Landing 6:17 Debriefing 6:47 Elephant pictures   Video editing by Simon Wunderli (ResearchDrones.com)

Thanks for supporting Conservation Drones in 2012!

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2012 Annual Report for ConservationDrones.org Some excerpts: ConservationDrones.org had 49,000 views in 2012. The busiest day of the year was May 29th with 4,416 views. Our visitors came from 158 countries in all! Most visitors came… Continue reading

Night Vision Conservation Drones

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Over the last week, ResearchDrones.com and ConservationDrones.org conducted a series of tests of low cost thermal imaging cameras. Models tested: 1. FLIR HS-324 Patrol 19mm Thermal camera (320 x 240 res) (link) 2. NEC… Continue reading

Atlantic Ocean, SWAT Team and Conservation Drones

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A fitting last post for what has been a most exciting 2012, which saw the founding of ConservationDrones.org and ResearchDrones.com, hundreds of successful drone missions in Asia and Africa (and a couple of… Continue reading

Launch of new ResearchDrones/ConservationDrones in Odzala National Park, Congo

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After traveling thousands of miles by air, a 16-h “road” trip and surviving 3 flat tires, Remo Peduzzi and Simon Wunderli from ResearchDrones personally brought our brand new WHITE Maja drones to conservation… Continue reading

Conservation Drone in Loango, Gabon

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Sander van Andel (Max Planck Institute) flies Conservation Drone Maja in Loango National Park, Gabon, capturing turtle nests on the beach (first ever coastal mission!), forest buffaloes and chimpanzee nests (with a marker). Loangodrone flight overview… Continue reading

Flight Animation with synchronized video

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If you are using a GoPro HD camera, or any non-GPS enabled video camera, you can use a new web service, GPS4Sport.com, which allows for the synchronization of your APM log (in GPX format)… Continue reading

Video of drone flight over Sepilok forest for tree ecology

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Video of conservation drone flight over Sepilok by ecologist, Chris Kettle. This is a Conservation Drone 1.0 (Bixler prototype) carrying a Canon IXUS 220 camera (video mode)

Lian Pin speaking about Conservation Drones at 2012 WWF Fuller Symposium, Washington DC

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How to land a Conservation Drone in small spaces

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Updates from our Conservation Drones Asia Team (Keeyen and his son, and Wee Siong) who is helping ecologist Chris Kettle to conduct drone surveys over forests in Sepilok, Sabah (Borneo). (Link to Keeyen’s… Continue reading

Conservation Drones Among World Changing Ideas 2012

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Conservation Drones used in fight for orangutan survival

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Fly Through 3D Digital Forest

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3D forest model of a transect in Sumatra, Indonesia, based on aerial images acquired by Conservation Drones. Data processing by Dronemapper.com. Animation by Ervine Lin of ETH Future Cities Laboratory (futurecities.ethz.ch).

Discussion Forum and Seminars

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Forum Upon requests from some colleagues and friends, we have now put up a Forum page for general discussions on hardware, software, and other topics concerning Conservation Drones. I hope all of you… Continue reading

Conservation Drones MAJA Edition

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Over the last few weeks, ConservationDrones.org has been collaborating with Remo Peduzzi and Simon Wunderlin (from ResearchDrones LLC) to develop the next generation of drones for conservation applications. Remo and Simon bring with… Continue reading

Training of Nepali Park Protection Personnel on use of Conservation Drones to stop wildlife crime

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Collage of Orangutan Nests

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Collage of Orangutan Nests, a set on Flickr. This is a photo-collage of ~35 orangutan nests in SE Asian rain forests taken by cameras on board Conservation Drones. We are collaborating with colleagues… Continue reading

Conservation Drones teams up with DroneMapper!

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Yes! We have teamed up with DroneMapper.com. DroneMapper operates an innovative SaaS system which allows drone pilots to manage their flight data, build beautiful geo-referenced orthomosaic maps, DEMs and 3D models from aerial… Continue reading

High resolution composite image of Zurich Zoo’s new elephant enclosure under construction

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This is an 18-photo composite image of Zurich Zoo’s new elephant enclosure. Aerial photographs were taken by a camera on board an autonomous Conservation Drone 2.0 that was flying at a speed of… Continue reading

Next Gen Conservation Drone under testing

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We are experimenting with several different airframes for the next fleet of Conservation Drones. One of these models is the X5 which we mentioned earlier. Another promising candidate is the new Condor Skywalker 1880. The main… Continue reading

This is what Conservation Drones can do!

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Drone Parachute Deployment

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We finally were able to test our homemade parachute (40″ diameter). Initial tests suggest that a deployment altitude of about 10m above ground should be about just right to minimize drift. Our next… Continue reading

First scientific publication of Conservation Drones

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Sneak Peek: Conservation Drone 3.0

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The X5 Wing

Video footage of grasslands and ‘Sal’ forest in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

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Orangutan nest survey video

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Conservation Drone captures Rhinos

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Conservation Drones demonstration

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Conservation Drones in Chitwan National Park, Nepal

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NDVI images taken by Conservation Drones

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Conservation Drones at the Danau Girang Field Centre, Kinabatangan

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Conservation Drones at Sukau, Kinabatangan

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Conservation Drones in Sabah

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University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

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Training Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz and the MEME team from the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephants). Emma Stokes and Tony Lynam from WCS dropped by for a peek as… Continue reading

Two new camera placements

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We tried these two new camera placement options under a wing that worked very well in the field. Again, the iSPONGE served its purpose in dampening motor vibration.

Training Ian Singleton and Graham Usher from the SOCP (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme)

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Orangutan nest spotting with Conservation Drone, success!

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Orangutan nest spotting success!

Two orangutan nests spotted by a Conservation Drone flying at 100m above ground.

New media coverage in Wall Street Daily

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Conservation ArduCopter Test Flight

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Finally found time and some good weather to test fly the latest addition to our Conservation Drones fleet — ArduCopter. This test flight was fully autonomous, including takeoff and landing. Details of test… Continue reading

Training our first collaborators

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Serge and Lian Pin training Alex and Fiona from the Ugalla Primate Project to operate a Conservation Drone bound for Tanzania to survey chimps!

Our Conservation Fleet!

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Serge and I spent the last few days in Asten, the Netherlands, building up our Conservation fleet. These will be going to the Jane Goodall Institute, University of Nottingham Malaysia, and WWF Nepal,… Continue reading

Conservation Drones Teaser

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Our Mission

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The mission of this website is to share our knowledge for building low-cost Conservation Drones to help conservation workers and researchers in developing countries do their jobs a lot more effectively and cost… Continue reading

What are Conservation Drones?

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Conservation Drones are inexpensive, autonomous and operator-friendly unmanned aerial vehicles for surveying and mapping forests and biodiversity. Non-technical operators can program each mission by defining waypoints along a flight path using an open-source… Continue reading