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Video: Behind-the-scenes look shows how drones help to map and reforest a Virginia Tech property

July 19, 2017

Two part image with drone on bottom and topographic map above created via computer visualization

king off at Catawba with illustrative topographic map above
A drone’s-eye view of the Catawba Sustainability Center plus LIDAR (light detection and ranging) technology enable creation of computer visualizations, above. The meticulously detailed topography maps will be accessible to anyone doing projects at the center.

Even as the lure of mastering agroforestry practices inspires Virginia Tech students by the dozens to plant trees on Virginia Tech’s 377-acre Catawba Sustainability Center, sky-high drones complement the earthbound digging.

More than four separate research projects involving drones and LIDAR technology touch on water-quality protection, food harvests from fruit and nut trees, wetlands restoration, and more.

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Faculty members central to the projects are:

Entities underwriting the research include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Virginia Department of Forestry, USDA National Agroforestry Center, the Dominion Foundation, and Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech.