Drone Projects

We have completed over 175 unique projects since forming the company in 2014.  Listed below are ten of our favorite projects that were completed using UAV (drone) technology.

Silviculture Surveys – Western Forest Products (WFP)

SuavAir has been silviculture surveying for Western Forest Products since 2015.  We have surveyed over 15,700ha for WFP, completing 9,300ha of free growing surveys, 4,700ha of brush assessments, 1,000 hectares of post-wildfire surveys (Section 108 / FCI Funding), and 700 hectares of plot surveys.  Our UAV survey process is safer and offers a lower cost than traditional ground survey techniques.  As professional foresters, all reports are RPF signed and stamped.

 “SuavAir’s reports have always been accurate with good attention to detail. The imagery has allowed us to make better forest management decisions.”  – Carolina Silva RPF, Area Forester

Hotspot Scanning and Mapping – BC Wildfire Service

Using thermal cameras mounted on our drones, we have the ability to detect hotspots from wildfires and map them in GIS within 5 metres of their location.  We have worked on 27 unique fires since 2016 and have saved firefighters countless hours by giving them precise locations for the hotspots to extuingish.  Drones offer a cheaper, safer, and more accurate option than traditional methods for hotspot detection.

We also have the ability to map the burned area to create an ortho image that can be used determine fire perimeters and calculate the total area burned.  This is useful for fire fighters to determine access to the site, as well as for future rehabilation efforts.

Volumetrics Surveys – Lafarge Canada

Creating point clouds and 3D models from our drone imagery allows us to complete volumetrics surveys for aggregates.  Several times per year, we survey / measure all of Lafarge’s gravel pits on Vancouver Island to give them updated inventory information.  The data is highly accurate and the methodology much safer than traditional methods.

Invasive Species Mapping – Parks Canada

The Gulf Island National Park is home to several rare species of plants.  Unfortunately, they have been encroached on by invasive plants.  As part of Parks Canada’s mandate to remove the invasive species, we mapped the area in extremely high resolution (1cm) to help them in their environmental management strategy.  Also acquired oblique angle imagery for their website and social media marketing.

Gravel Spawning Monitoring – BC Hydro & Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)

In the summer of 2016, 1800m2 of gravel was introduced to the Campbell River in historical breeding teritory for Chinook and Coho salmon.  However, due to extremely heavy rainfall and the resulting highflows, much of the gravel was displaced downstream.  SuavAir was hired to document the entire process, from before the gravel was placed (July 2016) all the way through to the gravel being displaced (December 2016).  Using a polar lens to penetrate the water surface, we were able to survey the site for our client’s to determine the best management strategy going forward.

Environmental Monitoring

NI Hospitals Project – VI Health Authority

The North Island Hospital Project is constructing two new hospitals on Vancouver Island, one in Campbell River and one in Courtenay.  SuavAir has provided imagery on scheduled intervals to provide a time lapse of the ongoing changes in construction. Imagery has been used for contractor planning, monitoring, and updates to the general public.

 “SuavAir is a pleasure to work with. These guys are creative, innovative and responsive to the challenges of telling the story of our hospital construction project.”  – Dan Maclennan,  Communications Officer

Oyster River – Strathcona Regional District

The Oyster River is subject to annual flooding, creating erosion and changing riverbank conditions.  SuavAir was hired to create maps for the river during two seasons, fall of 2016 and winter of 2017 for change detection.

“The ability to capture imagery of undermined/unstable river bank edges and coastal erosion areas is an invaluable data collection technique. The unique perspective afforded by the UAV was previously unavailable.  Comparisons of this data, over time, should prove enlightening and will provide invaluable insight into change detection and mitigation planning.”  – Douglas Sauer, GIS Analyst

Wetland Habitat – NW Wildlife Preservation Society

The NW Wildife Preserve rehabilitated three sanctuary ponds in a wetlands reserve to improve bird habitat.  SuavAir produced a high resolution 3 cm map to document the restoration success.  We also recorded photos and videos to show the stakeholders the completed project.

Sawmill Mapping – WFP Manufacturing

Western Forest Products operates six mills on Vancouver Island.  To improve the logistics and safety of the sites, they required overhead imagery.  SuavAir flew all six sites and provided imagery that helped safety managers identify areas of improvement for worker safety.  High resolution maps were used as a planning tool to improve work flows for higher production.

“The feedback from the managers has been very good as to the quality of the product.  It has helped with traffic flow productivity and job safety breakdowns.”  -Mark Haupt,   Health and Safety Officer

Eel Grass Habitat Mapping – Campbell River Salmon Foundation

We produced high-resolution maps of the Campbell River estuary for the Salmon Foundation to monitor eel grass habitat and other environmental features within the estuary.  By mapping these eelgrass beds, biologists will be able to monitor eelgrass bed size and high value habitat within the estuary in subsequent years through change-detection repetitive surveys.

As the estuary has several helicopter and seaplane companies, we had to coordinate and communciate in advance and during the operation.  This allowed us to safely map the 125 hectare project while ensuring the UAV did not impact their manned aviation operations.

Estuary Mapping

Dry Land Sort Environmental Planning – Taan Forest

Ongoing maintenance and monitoring of dry land sorts is important to mitigate environmental impacts.  Using a combination of UAVs and ground truthing, we were able to assess 5 dry land sorts for any environmental compliance issues and create high resolution maps with recommendations to resolve any problems.  The UAV imagery was also helpful in mapping the adjacent woody debris landfills and determining the remaining volume capacity.