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$228
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By John P. Simaika
$228
pledged of $49,277 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About

Using drones to detect dragonflies

• Dragonflies are important indicators of wetland health, and there is a huge need to develop their use in African wetlands, which are high in biodiversity and human use.

• Dragonflies are large insects, that are relatively easy to spot and to identify in the field. They are excellent indicators of water quality, and recognized indicators of freshwater health.

• Monitoring the health of wetlands is a vital part of assessing the impact of existing and planned future infrastructures. This can be an expensive and time consuming process. As a consequence, monitoring is either not done regularly or not done at all.

• To make monitoring faster, cheaper and more accessible to citizen scientists, we propose a novel method that combines state-of-the-art technology represented by drone footage and image recognition with traditional entomology to detect key species of dragonflies, as indicators of ecosystem health, in drone videos and images.

• We will also test crowd-source data collection through a web-based application that will multiply the number and frequency of sampling points engaging citizen scientists in regular monitoring.


Why are a couple of science geeks on Kickstarter?

The project is neither basic nor entirely applied science, and thus falls right between traditional funding pillars.

The right funder is you - philanthropists with a passion (like us) to combine traditional science and new technology in a novel and useful way. 

Dragonflies and damselflies of Mabamba Bay, Lake Victoria, Uganda
Dragonflies and damselflies of Mabamba Bay, Lake Victoria, Uganda

Our deliverables

1) Site selection. We will use pre-selected and well-surveyed field sites (Uganda) and identify new field sites (Mozambique). Work will be done in collaboration with nature conservation NGOs, NatureUganda (already in collaboration with other projects) and Museum of Natural History in Mozambique.

2) Pilot study. Pilot flights will be done in Uganda and Mozambique using the DJI Phantom 4 Pro as well as the more advanced Carbon Copter Octocopter and Sony Alpha6000 equipped with 20 mm and 100 mm prime lenses.

3) Species verification. Voucher samples of adult dragonflies will be collected in Uganda (already done) and Mozambique. Species will be identified using taxonomic keys and collections in museums.

4) Image analyses. Expert knowledge and software automation: We will use two sets of images and videos: a) from DJI Phantom 4 Pro (P4P) mimicking what citizen scientists would use; b) from the CarbonCopter Octocopter with improved camera and lenses for validation of the lower resolution DJI P4P images and videos. We will use image interpretation by trained experts as well as by using Object Based Image Analyses (OBIA).

5) App creation. A freely downloadable and shareable biomonitoring app will be developed for use by citizen scientists, which makes use of an online image recognition service.

6) Website and publications for dissemination. The results will be disseminated through publications and presentations at conferences as well as via the website.


What it will cost

Project budget
Project budget

Consumables. The little stuff, like printing paper and ink, envelopes and so on. This helps us stay creative.

Equipment. Most of the majorly expensive stuff - the cameras, drones (DJI Phatnom Pro 4, Carbon Copter 4) and software (eCognition) we have already, but we are still missing an essential component a 100 mm prime Lens for our Sony Alpha camera. This allows us to take crisp, high resolution images.

Travel. Comprises almost half of the project. This is for travel to Uganda's major lakes, and Mozambique's wetlands, twice over the period of two years to capture the seasonal variation of dragonfly diversity over time, and to test our trained software and app.

Web-based development. Development of a basic project website, and cloud space rental.

Communication. Costs to cover publication of our work and dissemination at conferences, workshops and seminars.

Running costs. - This part of the budget covers our data analysis costs, Kickstarter (10% of the project), and includes a contingency (5% of the project). 

Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda
Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda


Societal benefits

Local communities, water practitioners in various sectors (GOV, NGO, Private) need reliable indicators. This project delivers:

  • Easy method to monitor wetland health
  • Citizen-science based – anyone can contribute using their mobile and an app
  • Repository of temporal and spatial data on wetland health
  • Spatially explicit indicator of improvement or decline
  • New awareness, building sense of community responsibility


Project partners

Acknowledgements

Video production and editing: Emilie Buist
Drone footage: Paolo Paron
Photography: John Simaika

Risks and challenges

We already have drones and the software to analyse footage and images. We have several drones, so should one fail, there are backups.

Although we have had not problems flying drones in Uganda or Mozambique, laws do change all the time, and flying drones may become more restrictive.

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    Receive all the benefits of the previous pledges. In addition, receive print-ready (A2 size) images featuring African dragonflies.

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    Receive all the benefits of the previous pledges. In addition, be the first to trial our beta app for recognition of dragonflies in the Uganda/Mozambique.

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    Receive all the benefits of the previous pledges. You will also receive two T-shirts and a tote bag with a stylized dragonfly printed on each item, as well as a printed certificate of support for our project.

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    Receive all the benefits of the previous pledges. In addition, receive a local artist's craft work of a dragonfly.

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