UAV Applications

SGRC Lead Researcher: Ian Parfitt
SGRC Researcher: Ian Dennis
Bachelors of GIS Students: David Greaves, Isabella Beharrel 
SGRC Coops: David Greaves (2016), Evan Amies-Golanski (2017), Joseph Plessis (2017) 

Collaborating Agencies:   Red Mountain Resort, the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society, the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area

Funders:  Morrow Bioscience, the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK)

Since 2016 the SGRC has been using drones for mapping, remote sensing and videography work. This has been a rapidly growing field of new research, with lots of interested collaborators.  New equipment in terms of drones and sensors is regularly added to the fleet  All work has been done following the Transport Canada regulations under licence of a special flight operators certificate.  Some example projects and results are listed below


Ski Terrain

Bachelor’s student Isabella Beharrel engaged with Red Mountain Resort to create a 3 dimensional profile of Grey mountain. The profile could then be used to aid the decision in choosing the siting of a proposed new ski lodge.  


Mosquito Breeding Sites

Coop Student David Greaves partnered with Morrow Bioscience in a research project to use a thermal sensor to detect pools of water used by mosquitos for breeding.  The pools could be identified in the thermal image by their cooler spectral signature compared to the surrounding landscape

True colour (RGB) image

Thermal image


Invasive Species Detection

SGRC partnered with Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society in a pilot project to assess the feasibility of using drones to detect invasive yellow flag iris (YFI) plants. The work was done in the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area which has been badly affected by YFI and wanted some idea of the level of infestation.  Two approaches were tested: detection of emergent green shoots with a multi-spectral sensor and detection of yellow flowers with a true colour (RGB) sensor

Mutli-Spectal image

(false colour red = green, green = red, blue = red edge)

Classified iris shoots

(coloured red)

True colour (RGB) image

Classified iris flowers

(coloured red)

Regional Parks Infrastructure

Coop students Evan Amies-Galonski and Joseph Plessis worked with the Regional District of Central Kootenay to provide drone imagery of all their regional parks.  An map inventory of all the park infrastructure was then created from the imagery.  Video and stills were also taken for use as promotional material

Bigelow Bay Regional Park

Cottonwood Lake Regional Park

Bonnington Regional Park

Brilliant Bridge Regional Park

Roseberry Regional Park

Sunshine Bay Regional Park


Mapping Habitat Characteristics of the Slocan River

David Greaves used drones for his Bachelor in GIS  project to map habitat characteristics of the Slocan River.  Object based classification was used to determine the different stream habitats such as cobbles, sedimentary deposits, boulders and large woody debris

Valican Stage

Aerial Imagery 2011

Valican Stage

UAV Imagery 2017

True colour image Segment band values Unsupervised spectral classification