Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Uncrewed Aviation Systems Program

Data collection provided by uncrewed aviation systems (UAS) enhances the Washington Water Science Center’s (WAWSC) ability to monitor dynamic environmental systems, respond to natural hazards, analyze the impacts of climate change, and assess landscape change.

Rapid technological development, coupled with experience in managing and analyzing spatial data, has allowed the USGS to expand its remote sensing capabilities and emerge as a national leader in the use of UAS for research purposes.

Computer modeling and analysis

  • High-resolution elevation and 3D modeling
  • Surface-temperature mixing analysis
  • Geospatial and time-series analysis
  • Evapotranspiration estimates
  • Feature classification
  • Evaluation of fluvial processes
  • Atmospheric sampling

Thermal and multi-spectral imaging

  • Identification of cold-water refugia
  • Plant-health and quantity assessment
  • Fish counts and redd identification
  • Monitoring harmful algal blooms
  • Wildlife surveillance
  • Feature extraction and quantification

Hazard and natural disaster response

  • Flood inundation mapping
  • Landform/landslide assessment
  • Wildfire response
  • Spill plume monitoring
  • Identification of isolated communities
  • Damage assessment
  • Real-time transmission of situational awareness data to stakeholders
  • Structural inspection

Special flight characteristics

  • Night flying
  • Flights beyond visual line of sight
  • Higher flight ceilings
  • Greater access to controlled airspace
  • All pilots are DOI and FAA certified

Data Preservation