Summary of the High Latitude Drone Ecology Network (HLDEN) meeting

Location: San Francisco

Date of meeting: 14 December 2016

Compiled by: Jeff Kerby with input from Isla Myers-Smith and Andrew Cunliffe

Executive summary:

The High Latitude Drone Ecology Network (HLDEN) meeting brought together drone users who work in high latitude ecosystems together for a first meeting of our group to discuss common interests and challenges in drone ecology and other drone research applications.

The meeting began with a short presentation by Isla Myers-Smith outlining session goals and a brief introduction to various UAV applications to Arctic Research (with a specific focus on research being currently conducted on Qikiqtaruk – Herschel Island).

Participants followed with short introductions of their personal research interests/uses of UAVs in the region, and their interest in this session.  This led in to open ended discussion on the following general themes: 1. Shared methods across sites, 2. High-latitude UAV synthesis paper, 3. Strategic planning for funding, research, and policy development.

See attached meeting write up for more information.



Drone Ecology Meet up at AGU

We are organizing a ‘High Latitude Drone Ecology’ workshop during the upcoming AGU meeting in San Francisco.

Location: Foothill E Room, Marriott Marquis (

Time: Weds, 14 Dec 2016, 10:15 am – 12:00pm (apologies for any session conflicts!)

We will discuss the following general topics:

A. Shared methods and protocols across sites
Hardware/software interfaces, sensor choices, and high-latitude-specific challenges can make the barrier to entry for consistent and comparable near-surface remote sensing approaches a challenge.  We will discuss what systems and protocols may work well across sites, and for various levels of UAV operator specialization.  Other subjects can include training opportunities, hardware and software troubleshooting, and ideas about shared data repositories.

B. High latitude UAV synthesis paper
There is an opportunity to guide polar UAV research via a synthesis and perspectives paper that identifies critical research themes and use-cases for UAV work in these rapidly changing (low canopy!) regions.

C. Strategic planning for funding, research, and policy development relevant to high latitude use cases
This working group can be a chance to discuss what research questions a drone network can ask better than a project at a single site, what are the current foci of various research groups, and determine if there are common data that all groups can systematically collect with minimal additional effort.  Regulatory environments are evolving rapidly in this field, and this poses an opportunity to share up to date information on recent changes and/or to guide science-positive policy in this area.

If you would like to participate in the workshop please RSVP to Jeff Kerby.  We will send out a summary of the meeting to interested parties who are not able to attend.

The HLDEN AGU team

Drones at AGU

Here are some relevant presentations on airborne research in high latitude ecosystems at the upcoming AGU meeting.

Dissecting Drivers of Arctic Plant Phenology Across Scales in Time and Space

UAV-LiDAR accuracy and comparison to Structure from Motion photogrammetry

An Overview of the 2017 Airborne Campaign for NASA’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE)

The Impact of Drone Technology on Arctic Remote Sensing Data

Using Small Drone (UAS) Imagery to Bridge the Gap Between Field- and Satellite-Based Measurements of Vegetation Structure and Change

New high-latitude drone ecology paper out

Check out Rob’s new paper on using drones to map tundra vegetation.
Fraser, Robert H., et al. UAV photogrammetry for mapping vegetation in the low-Arctic. Arctic Science 2.3 (2016): 79-102.
And check out the cool videos too:

Drones at EGU

If you are off to the European Geosciences Union Meeting in Vienna, Austria from 17–22 April 2016, then check out the following session and presentations:

Unmanned Aerial Systems: Platforms, Sensors and Applications in the Geosciences

Drone-acquired structure-from-motion photogrammetry for high-precision measurements of biomass in semi-arid rangelands

MISTRALE: Soil moisture mapping service based on a UAV-embedded GNSS-Reflectometry sensor