UAV work in the Canadian Rockies

Believe it or not, its not as easy as UAV work in the Himalayas. My UAV partner-in-crime Philip Kraaijenbrink (PhD candidate at Utrecht University) recently joined the Coldwater Lab in Canmore, Alberta, for a few weeks. Here is his honest assessment:

Our goals with these repeat surveys during the melt season (April – ????) are to develop estimates of snow melt rates from a variety of slope aspects and angles, to look at thermal aspects of snow melt (enhanced melt rates and heat advection from vegetation, rocks), and to build datasets that can be used to validate distributed snow hydrology models.

We’ve only managed to sneak in one flight so far, but the new S.O.D.A. camera from senseFly seems to work very well with the eBee RTK.


A rare moment of relative calm, jacket thrown over the laptop to try and cut the glare from the snow.


From our first flights of 2017: a closeup of the digital elevation model with shading (left) and the same scene shown as an orthoimage (right). Sleds show up nicely, and you can even see our footprints in the snow heading to the upper right corner of the scene.

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