Meet the Team - Remote Pilot Danielle Robinson

 Meet Danielle Robinson, Senior GIS Analyst and Remote Pilot

Introducing Danielle Robinson, Senior GIS Analyst and Remote Pilot at EMM. Danielle's passion for drone technology stems from her fascination with aerial perspectives. Recently, she led a project using a Mavic Thermal Drone for nocturnal fauna surveys in the Coal Belt, demonstrating drones' efficiency in ecological studies. At EMM, Danielle leverages advanced drone technology and diverse sensors to capture detailed data, which she expertly integrates and analyses, providing critical insights for various projects.

What inspired you to become involved in drone technology and aerial surveying?

Drone technology and its data-intense connection to what we do everyday as Spatial Professionals honestly feels like a natural progression/pairing for most of the drone team at EMM. Capturing meaningful data using drones is one thing, but what to do with it once you have it requires critical thinking that is embedded in our day-to-day tasks in Spatial Solutions.

Personally, I have always loved seeing things from above, considering the proximity to other things and how different things look from a different angle than humans are generally used to. It brings a different perspective that is way outside yourself and reminds me how much the outside world has to offer if you really look just a bit further than your everyday experience.

Can you walk us through a project you've worked on recently, highlighting how drone technology was utilised and the insights it provided?

As a relatively new RePL-qualified team, we're working hard to get as much experience and exposure to practical experience as possible. My recent experience took me up to the Coal belt, around 2 hours west of Mackay. We were tasked with doing nocturnal targeted fauna surveys across a large offset site for koala and greater glider. 

Using our Mavic 3T thermal drone, we planned 500m transects across the site to scan for presence of these species, primarily along creek lines and high-quality patches of vegetation. We flew these transects around 30m above canopy height and could spot some larger mammals. High daytime temperatures and high winds provided us some challenges for picking up any thermal differential of smaller mammals as effectively. 

We learnt a lot about adapting to changing environmental conditions on the fly, how to re-adjust thermal heat ranges based on ambient temperatures, and how effective our drones can be at saving time and ecologists' legs in future field survey programs. It was an amazing experience to be out on the ground with this equipment, testing, learning, and knowing you have the support of EMM to make this new technology work for our teams moving forward.  

EMM Drone Services boasts advanced drone technology and a variety of sensors. Could you explain how these tools enhance your ability to collect and analyse data?

At EMM our end-to-end capability through the Drone Services team, coupled with our technical GIS skills in Spatial Solutions, allow us to be a trusted part of projects from start to finish. Location data in any project is key to decision making and essentially that’s what we can provide our clients, even starting with nothing.

Initially we can use our drones to capture any data from basic aerial imagery, through to LiDAR point clouds, thermal signatures of targeted survey species, and video footage for a range of purposes. For me though, once this data is collected and the EMM Drone Services team get it downloaded….the real magic happens.

Using the collected data, our GIS and spatial skills in data integration, quality assurance and analysis allow a huge range of practical data outcomes that assist in answering the questions being asked during the project. Quality data is not always available or reliable across the range of areas we work on during projects at EMM, but this is no longer a problem for us as we can create our own! The accelerated timeframes in which we can collect and process meaningful project data is game changing.  


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Danielle Robinson

Senior GIS Analyst and Remote Pilot