Aerial surveys for non-native plant species such as Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera), Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and floating pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides), allow us to cover areas which are normally difficult or sometimes impossible to reach with traditional monitoring methods, providing full coverage of the survey area in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

Our state-of-the-art digital cameras are fixed on gyro-stabilised mountings on a specialised survey aircraft, allowing us to survey large areas quickly and cost-effectively to a resolution of up to 1.5 cm per pixel.

Using specialist software, these images are geo-referenced and turned into detailed composite images. Our experienced image analysts then examine the pictures for signs of non-native plant species, such as the pink flowers of Himalayan balsam.

Invasive non-native plant species 2

Invasive non-native plant species 1

At the same time, we apply algorithms that allow us to automatically create maps showing the various types of vegetation across the landscape. Ground validation can be used to confirm the classification.

We use this information to map the location, type and extent of the species. In addition, the very high-resolution imagery makes it possible to map any cracks in concrete or tarmac, as well as collapsed riverbanks or flood defences.

Where non-native plant species are already well established, clients use our maps to inform their mitigation and management efforts. Where species are less well established, our surveys give an early warning.

If you have any queries, please contact David Campbell, associate director.
Alternatively you can email us here. Or call 0161 442 8938.