Norway's coastline is more than 100,000 km long, including all islands and fjords, where only a fraction of its species and habitat types have been mapped. Here we find threatened seabirds and mammals, essential ecosystems serving as nursery grounds and food for countless species, and great commercial resources.
The coastal zone is a rather inaccessible zone, where rubber boots only allow us to venture so far into the water and the limiting depth of research vessels make us unable to map in the shallows. This is where the use of drones can revolutionize environmental research, mapping and monitoring in Norway.
During a five-year period, until 2025, SeaBee will establish a national center for drone-based services for use in coastal and aquatic research, mapping and monitoring of species and habitats, algae and animal communities, and anthropogenic impacts. This is a blue-green investment that will benefit research communities, management and coastal industries throughout the country. This infrastructure will position Norway at the forefront of international drone research and monitoring applications.
Through pre-programmed flight planning and automated procedures, the project will streamline data collection and analysis and make high-quality data available in a time and cost-effective manner. Flying drones equipped with cameras and sophisticated spectral light sensors can take images with centimeter resolution - a thousand times better than what is freely available from today's satellite products. Recorded species and nature types will be classified using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence tools and the developed recognition products will be verified from ground truth observations by experienced ecologists. Data and mapping products will be stored in cloud solutions and made freely available for research and management applications. SeaBee will thus establish novel and cost-effective solutions for use in aquatic research, and for mapping and monitoring of nature in the coastal zones, and hereby establish new standards for environmental research and management.
SeaBee is a cooperation between Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norwegian Computing Center (NR), Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Institute of Marine Research (IMR), and GRID-Arendal, with Andøya Space Center (ASC) and Spectrofly A/S as industrial partners.
Read more at www.seabee.no
SeaBee will establish a national center for drone-based services for use in coastal and aquatic research, mapping and monitoring of habitats, animal communities, and anthropogenic impacts. SeaBee will facilitate delivery of comprehensive solutions for cost-effective data collection and analysis of the coastal zone using small portable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), also referred to as aerial drones. The combination of sophisticated environmental sensors and aerial drones will enable collection of large scale, high-resolution data, and data products that will benefit research and management efforts for healthier and cleaner coastal and aquatic environments. Unlike traditional observation techniques, portable drones can cover large areas efficiently, and provide a spatial sensitivity of typically 1000 times better than state-of-the-art satellite products. By delivering a beyond state-of-the-art tool to address present day and future environmental challenges in a time- and cost-effective manner, SeaBee will greatly facilitate the acquisition of big data necessary for ecosystem management, and place Norway at the forefront of international drone research and monitoring of aquatic systems.
SeaBee will put together four state-of-the-art components in a novel interdisciplinary configuration: 1) Aerial drones with sophisticated sensors will collect high resolution environment-relevant data, 2) advanced automated data pipelines and routines using machine learning to process the data for thematic mapping and targeted object detection, 3) novel cloud solutions to secure long-term storage and accessibility of the data nation-wide, and 4) easy-accessed GIS (Geographical Information System) web portals to deliver customized data products via cloud solutions directly to end-users, including researchers, management authorities, technology industry, university students and, in the long term, society.