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Marine Mammal Laboratory Briefs the Advanced UAS Sensor Development for Marine Mammal Monitoring Project
John Coffey - NOAA Affiliate
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Marine Mammal Laboratory Briefs the Advanced UAS Sensor Development for Marine Mammal Monitoring Project

NOAA UAS Program conducts a Mission Concept Review in preparation for this project's initiation.

The NOAA UAS Program conducted a Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)-Advanced UAS Sensor Development for Marine Mammal Monitoring Mission Concept Review on February 13th to assess the Readiness Level (RL) of the UAS, sensors and application in the operational fisheries environment, Pribilof Islands, Alaska.  The Principle Investigator, Katie Sweeney from the Marine Mammal Laboratory, AFSC, NOAA Fisheries gave a thorough briefing (attached) which included:

Mission Goals and Objectives

This project involves three objectives. The assessment of …

  • A medium endurance rotary wing UAS with ≥ 30 minute flight time
  • A high resolution RBG camera and new thermal/RGB sensor
  • Multi-spectral imaging (coordinating with NESDIS)

for surveying pinnipeds hauled out on land.

Concept of Operations (CONOPS) 

The multi-spectral imaging (MSI) is readily used in the land and sea applications for agriculture, marine monitoring and satellite imagery.  While it is most often used for flora, wildlife MSI has been investigated and this team is looking forward to using it for Northern Fur Seals (NFS). Ideally, the team will prove that NFS fur would reflect light differently than the background in such a way that we could isolate those signatures so that fur seals could “pop” from the image.  This Technic has been used to identify large whales from satellite imagery by the Navy.

The team will use the APH-28 UAS coupled with Sony Alpha A7R II camera and FLIR DUO Pro R.


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