VITO Remote Sensing: Monitoring Algae Drones


In the Netherlands, Rijkswaterstaat is responsible for the management and maintenance of the main infrastructure facilities including the waterways. In order to improve their monitoring techniques and analyses they are looking into drone-based remote sensing solutions to complement and improve their systematic in situ point measurements taken by vessels. Can we use drones to observe algae concentrations and fluctuations with respect to tidal phase? Discover more about the pilot case that was set up to explore the possibilities and difficulties of using EO-based solutions to improve water quality monitoring of dynamic waters such as the Scheldt estuary and Wadden sea.

  • A story about by Willem Boone


The European water Framework Directive requires member states to monitor water quality aspects related to algae blooms. In the Netherlands, monitoring is performed by Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) with systematic in situ point measurements taken by vessels. However, the complexity of dynamic waters such as the Scheldt estuary and Wadden sea cannot be properly assessed by such sparse monitoring. We are therefore looking into the possibilities of using remote sensing and EO-based solutions. It allows us to collect more data at regular times over large areas which makes it possible to use full coverage maps instead of single point observations.
While monitoring water quality of these dynamic waters, we have to take into account some specific phenomena such as the tides. Do algae and turbidity concentrations shift with tidal phases? This is crucial information when interpreting satellite products. We explored the possibilities and difficulties of using drones and remote sensing technology in a dedicated pilot case.

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Author: EARSC

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