Polarquest2018 will test the use of commercial low cost minidrones as scientific tools for field research in the Arctic. The objective of this campaign is to develop efficient and cost-effective observation methods.
Our dedicated drone team will deploy a fleet of three small drones (two mini-drones below 2 kgs of max take-off weight, one micro-drone, below 300 grams) in several scenarios on the coast around the Svalbard archipelago, above 78 degrees N latitude.
Mini and micro drones are especially suited for efficient and low-costsurvey of remote and typically inaccessible areas such as the Svalbard archipelago, both on land and sea environments. We will carry out observations of ice-cover variations (comparing with archived data), land conditions, vegetation, floating ice distribution and presence and behavior of fauna, including polar bears. Surveys will include photogrammetry, photo/video footage in the visible light as well as multispectral and thermal imagery to be used in different types of analyses.
An additional payload lifting and transporting drone (under 10 kgs) will be used for deploying / recovering instrumentation and for collecting water and floating ice samples up to 2 kgs, as well as for performing environmental measures and data acquisition. Data and methodology experiences acquired during the expedition will serve as a test towards periodical monitoring of particularly difficult geographic and environmental scenariossuch as northernmost Svalbard coasts.