HiDef - digital aerial surveys
Since January 2014 we perform digital aerial surveys recording sea birds and marine mammals using a camera system developed by the British company HiDef Aerial Surveying Ltd..
The camera system records aerial photographs that enable us to detect sea birds and marine mammals offshore and to even perform accompanying investigations within offshore wind farms. The photographs are taken by four cameras from a flight height of around 550 m and cover a transect width of a total of 500 m (125 m by each camera). Compared to the conventional man-based detection and recording method, our digital aerial surveys provide a counting method with improved objectivity and minimize safety risks.
An increased flight height for the digital aerial surveys allows us to even record sea birds and marine mammals within offshore wind farms, which had previously not been possible using the conventional man-based approach. Together with an increased flight speed, possible because of the digital recording system, a larger area can be covered in less time. Due to the high resolution of 2 cm per pixel and a fast recording rate of 7 images per second, we are capable of precisely determining the species of a recorded bird even at higher sea states. Moreover roughly 20% of the data undergo a second round of control, which ensure a high level of data quality. Using this video recording approach we are able to perform a robust and effective monitoring, that is comprehensibly documented for our customers and public authorities.