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AggieAir Service Center

The AggieAir TMService Center at the Utah Water Research Laboratory, (Utah State University) offers the service of providing potential clients with time sensitive, high resolution, multi-spectral aerial imagery. Our primary focus is on providing environmental data through aerial imagery that can help address scientific research application needs and natural resource problems. The Service Center is not limited to aerial imagery, environmental sensors and monitoring equipment can be modified to fit the UAV payload and/or platform.

The Service Center offers a fully encapsulated package, including a fully certified pilot, A Ground Station Operator (GCS), the application process and a fully executed Certificate of Authorization (C.O.A.) and all necessary interaction with the Federal Aviation Authority (F.A.A). Once all necessary applications have been fully satisfied, a flight schedule will be proposed with the client and flights will be conducted.

Final delivered projects include orthorectified mosaics in various spectral bands as well as scientifically analyzed products used for management and decision making.  Final analysis and deliverables can be tailored to suit client’s requirements.

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Aerial imagery and environmental data provided by the AggieAir TM Service Center currently includes the following research projects:

Current Projects

GRAPEX-Grape Remote sensing Atmospheric Profiling & Evapotranspiration eXperiment for Sustainable Management

As part of on-going efforts to develop remote-sensed information for crop and water management by E&J Gallo Winery and ARS-USDA, the USU AggieAir Service Center was invited to provide scientifically calibrated, high-resolution aerial imagery (0.15cm/pixel) for estimation of vine water use, soil moisture, yield and other products that can allow a detailed management of vines farms in California. The high resolution imagery can also be used as ground truth to validate remote sensing products from satellite sensors (e.g. Landsat, 30m/pixel).

Photogrammetric processing of historical aerial imagery, South Fork Stillaguamish River, Washington 1946-2013

The purpose of this research project was to create othorectified mosaics from historical aerial imagery flown over the South Fork Stillaguamish River, WA, between 1946 and 2013. Hard copy aerial imagery was supplied by Mt Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Forest Service. Imagery was scanned and processed using Agisoft. The final delivered product to the Forest Service was a series of orthorectied mosaics, including digital terrain models and digital surface models.

Mapping invasive aquatic weed (Eurasian Watermilfoil) over Fish Lake, Utah

The purpose of this proposed study is for the timely acquisition of high resolution multispectral aerial imagery of Eurasian Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), a non-native invasive aquatic plant which is prevalent in Fish Lake, South-Central Utah. The imagery captured using AggieAir will be used initially by agencies to map the presence of aquatic vegetation including milfoil along the western shoreline. A change detection scenario will be developed to investigate the response to the impact of the milfoil weevil (Euhrychiopsis lecontie), a native beetle introduced as a biological control.

Capturing Aerial Imagery on the San Rafael River, Utah, Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to Monitor and Assist in Evaluating Restoration Efforts

The focus of this work is primarily on image processing and data analyses of aerial imagery captured along the San Rafael River, South central Utah. The computer software, Agisoft, will be used to create orthorectified mosaics, digital terrain and surface models. It is anticipated that this data will be used as a comparison data set to data collected from a LiDAR flight over an identical region of the San Rafael River. Analysis will focus on how closely data results from Agisoft point clouds to establish both DTM’s and DSM’s, compare to the information captured from a previous LiDAR flight.

Investigating critical fish habitat during periods of low flow in Yellow Creek, Wyoming

AggieAir imagery will be used to identify critical habitat for the Northern Leatherside chub during periods of low flow within Yellow Creek, a major tributary of the Bear River. Habitat degradation, fragmentation, and loss from water development are significant threats to northern leatherside chub populations. The imagery will be used to investigate and assess the mesohabitat availability with the lower regions of Yellow Creek.

Completed Projects

Aerial imagery used to calculate and map algae density in a waste water treatment plant, Logan, Utah

Aerial imagery was captured by AggieAir UAV in 2009 over Logan City Wastewater Treatment Lagoons in Cache County, Utah. The imagery was used to improve monitoring of growth and harvest rate of natural algal bloom growth on Logan Lagoons Wastewater Treatment Plant for biofuel harvesting and production of biogas and other algal products.
Date Finished: 
Friday, February 17, 2012

AggieAir imagery within the Arctic Circle used to investigate climate change

AggieAir aerial imagery is being used to study the implications of climate change on water resources in Arctic Alaska. Repeat aerial imagery has been used to derive orthorectified, georeferenced digital elevation models, inundation maps, and surface temperature maps for a 35 kilometer reach of the Kuparuk River on the north slope of the Brooks Range. Dr. Neilson and her research team at the Utah Water Research Laboratory use these data products to extract physical river characteristics that influence transport processes and river temperature that in turn dictate carbon cycling and habitat suitability in this rapidly changing landscape. More specifically, digital elevation models coupled with inundation maps are currently being used to estimate discharge, surface area, and channel geometry while surface temperature maps are being used to identify subsurface seeps and thermal refugia that may become more important in a warming climate. Alternative remote sensing platforms were considered for this project, but unmanned aerial vehicles are limited in areal extent and require significant permitting, while satellite imagery were found to be too coarse with predetermined data collection schedules that could not be adapted to rapidly changing weather conditions. The application of the AggieAir platform mounted on a helicopter provided high resolution imagery over large areas with rapid deployment, making it an ideal platform for studying the dynamic energy balance between atmosphere and river in the Alaskan Arctic.
Date Finished: 
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Drawing an Ozone Curtain in Utah 2015

AggieAir’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platform was flown to acquire vertical and horizontal Ozone measurements during 2015, at Promontory Point, Great Salt Lake, Utah. With the FAA’s approval (COA) a 2B technologies model 2015 portable UV photometry ozone monitor was customized to fit in the UAV payload bay, while a HOBO exposed bead temperature sensor and data logger were mounted on the UAV’s exterior. The UAV was flown on a preprogrammed flight path within a 4-mile diameter circle, horizontally at 50 or 100m increments to a maximum elevation of 600m. A multiple of flight lines were flow throughout the day to examine how ozone levels vary both temporally and spatially.
Date Finished: 
Thursday, September 3, 2015

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