Mapping ecological habitats in remote areas presents an ongoing challenge. Nearshore ecosystems are particularly difficult to map, as tides, weather, and water conditions have to align to get good images of each habitat type.
But recent advances in camera technology, unmanned aerial vehicles (e.g., drones), and image analysis software is making mapping easier. These tools present an efficient and cost-effective method for generating habitat maps in complex coastal environments.
This past September, a team of Hakai researchers went into the field to obtain high-resolution imagery in the Koeye River estuary—an important grizzly/salmon ecosystem on the Central Coast of British Columbia. The estuary also contains extensive seagrass beds, and is vital habitat for forage fish like sandlance.
From these mapping efforts, you can now take a virtual tour of the Koeye River, explore a 3D model of the estuary, and discover different kinds of important habitats in the area.
Click above to explore an interactive 3D model of the Koeye River estuary. Model by Keith Holmes