Types & Uses of Aerial Photography for Project Sites

Aerial shot from hot air balloon looking down.

Before Google Maps de-sensitized the world to satellite imagery, seeing an aerial photograph was a mesmerizing experience. It was a rare perspective that only a few could see in person; it was also a fleeting experience.

Before the invention of drone technology, which made aerial photography cheaper and more accessible, if a person was lucky enough to have had a professional aerial photograph done at their property, they probably paid a pretty penny.

Aerial photography has been around since the mid 19th century, when it was first performed before the invention of the airplane, with the help of hot air balloons. Since that first aerial photograph, a lot has changed, but the types and uses have generally remained the same.

Let’s explore the different types of aerial photography used on project sites today.

Types of Aerial Photography

First, the term Aerial Photography refers to photographs taken from an elevated position using a suspended camera. Examples of capture methods that qualify as aerial photography are photos taken from:

  • Helicopters
  • Airplanes
  • Hot air balloons
  • Rockets
  • Drones
  • Kites
  • Satellites

Aerial photography has been instrumental in identifying landforms and mapping the Earth. This art of photogrammetry combines photography & geography by extracting measurements from photographs using an airborne craft.

There are many ways to capture the Earth using aerial technology. Here, we will go over some common terminology for types of aerial photography available and how the different types can be used on your job site.

Related: How Construction Site Projects Benefit from Drone Photography

Construction worker standing on rebar
Construction worker standing on rebar.

Vertical Photographs 

Maps are generally created with vertical aerial photographs by taking shots looking straight down at the ground. This keeps the image accurate in scale without distorting it by adding perspective.

Think about when you deposit a check with your phone camera into your mobile banking application. You want to keep your camera parallel or level above the surface the check is lying on. If you hold your camera at an angle, the check will not fit nicely into the rectangular box and is less readable by your bank’s app.

In construction, vertical photographs are useful for:

  • Site Assessments
  • Making site plans
  • Creating topographical maps
  • Building three-dimensional models
  • Inspecting rooftops

Low Oblique Photographs 

Next up are low oblique photographs. These are used to gain some perspective and close-up detail on landforms. These are different from vertical shots because they include at least a 3-degree tilt of the camera but less than 60 degrees.

Low oblique photographs are generally taken in construction to look at the quality of work being performed on the job site. These photographs need to be taken at a lower altitude to be close enough to capture more detail. Low oblique is also helpful for:

  • Viewing parts of a site that are not accessible
  • Inspecting a high-rise building
  • Inspecting rooftops
  • Site monitoring for safety compliance and progress
  • Surveying project site
  • 3-D Modeling

High Oblique Photographs 

You can probably guess the last type of aerial photograph: high oblique. High Oblique pictures have a much higher camera tilt and include the horizon. This results in a larger image area and helps distinguish elevation changes more quickly.

High oblique photographs are helpful on project sites for:

  • Site plan creation
  • Site exploration
  • Highway engineer planning
  • Phone lines planning 
  • Power line planning 
  • Drainage, sewer, irrigation, and flood zone management

High oblique aerial images are used to explore acres of land rather than city blocks in construction.

Related: Types of Remote Sensing

Image Scale

When you hear the terms large scale and small scale in aerial photography, it can seem a little counterintuitive. Large-scale aerial photographs are taken closer to the ground, while small-scale photographs are taken from a much higher altitude and include less detail but a larger land area.

HANA Resources is committed to changing the way technology meets the environment. You don’t know what you don’t know – let the experts at HANA Resources keep you informed about all aspects of your project site. Learn more today!

Related: Drone Land Surveying and Mapping

Aerial view of construction site
Aerial view of construction site.

HANA Resources Aerial Photography Can Make Your Next Project a Success

HANA Resources is an environmental consulting firm that specializes in running advanced technology so that you can reap the benefits. We give our utmost attention to each project and customize the flight plans to meet your job-specific needs.

Construction services that HANA Resources provides include:

  • Contour mapping
  • Drone Services
  • 3d Modeling 
  • Ultra-high-resolution, multispectral, and hyper-spectral cameras
  • Progress monitoring for job sites 
  • Incorporation of services with AutoCAD software

Drone Services

No challenge is too difficult for HANA Resources. Our top-notch imagery and we develop strategies to meet your individual project needs. Our drone services come in handy on job sites. Here are a few of the services we offer using drones and our proprietary technology:

Contour Mapping

Before breaking ground on a new construction site, the land must be surveyed and mapped. This is critical for excavation contractors to know how to proceed with their scope of work. HANA Resources provides aerial mapping and contour mapping services. Aerial mapping provides ultra-high resolution images, while contour mapping gives complex data that is easy to capture.

Progress Monitoring

New construction and even large renovation projects require a lot of coordination and planning. Physically walking and climbing around your job site every week or month to update the owner on the job site progress can be time-consuming and tedious. HANA Resources can make it simple. We offer weekly, biweekly, or monthly aerial progress monitoring of your job site.

Aerial photography has plenty of uses at different project sites. From high-rise construction in the city to highway engineering and city planning, these eyes in the sky have proven to be an invaluable way to assess, monitor, and visualize what might otherwise be unseen.

HANA Resources is an industry leader in aerial technologies using cutting-edge technology. Exceed all expectations on your next project and explore what we can do on your job site today!

Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments

Construction site overview with workers in foreground.

A phase 2 environmental site assessment takes a deeper look at identified environmental conditions uncovered during the phase 1 assessment. A phase 2 environmental site assessment provides more detail for risk analysis like data from soil tests or groundwater sources. Buyers and lenders look at this data to evaluate their long-term costs or risks in the presence or absence of petroleum products at an environmental site.

These risk assessments are only as good as the data provided. While ASTM E1903-11 outlines the basic requirements for conducting a phase 2 environmental site assessment, applying those requirements to specific sites can be subjective. Which samples–and how many are some of the decisions that factor into the quality of a site assessment.

Local geology, regulations, and specific concerns identified for the site often direct these decisions. But at the end of the day, it’s still up to the expertise of scientists and engineers conducting the assessment. 

Designing a Phase 2 Site Assessment

Taking the basic requirements outlined in ASTM E1903-11 and turning them into assessment activities to produce a quality report is the most significant variation in assessment quality.

For example, different drilling methods can be appropriate in different situations. Push probes, hollow stem augers, and mud rotary drills are common options depending on rock layers and other geology factors. These differences can impact the quality of data in the final report.

Here’s what to look at when designing an assessment:

  • Area(s) of Concern
  • Geology
  • Site Access
  • Chemical(s) of Concern
  • Type of Lab Analysis Needed
  • Soil Sample Collection Methods
  • Drilling Methods Required
  • Size and Scope

Before you get too far into the process of hiring a consultant to conduct your phase 2 site assessment, you should understand what you’re looking for and why. A little bit of preliminary research, like collecting documentation on the property’s history and previous environmental assessments, can provide some valuable insight.

The final product will be a report that details the methodology and results of sampling to provide a complete picture of the risk level of a specific property.

Related: Drone Land Surveying & Mapping

Natural resources power plant at night.
Natural resources power plant at night.

Significance of the Phase 2 Assessment

When an environmental hazard or potentially volatile organic compound (VOC) is identified on a property, the current and future property owners need a complete understanding of the current impact and future potential impact of its presence. It’s not safe to make assumptions about cleanup activities because the final cleanup of a prior leak is usually based on the property’s intended use.

If a contaminant leaked into the ground soil over many years and the land was intended to remain vacant, minimal cleanup might be required. However, if the property changes hands in the future and the new owners want to build a community playground on that site, there is suddenly a significant risk to human health and safety.

The liability for problems that arise from that contamination can be linked to current and former landowners. Therefore, a phase 2 site assessment is a fundamental risk management tool that helps buyers and investors know what they’re getting into.

Related: Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments

Who Needs a Phase 2 Assessment?

In most cases, buyers and investors request a phase 2 assessment as a good measure of risk assessment. Similarly, lenders can also request these assessments before financing a real estate transaction. Aside from real estate transactions, developers and other stakeholders that are considering using land for a new purpose should be interested in the safety of their intended site before pursuing their project.

HANA Resources uses science and technology to design and conduct effective site assessments that provide the data you need. Learn more today.

Choosing a Knowledgeable Consultant

With the importance of your phase 2 site assessment hinging on quality data, you want to find a firm with the expertise and technology needed to produce a thorough, high-quality assessment. The data collected should be complete and digitized for easy access and record-keeping.

You need a consultant that can provide:

  • Scientifically Accurate Methodology
  • Comprehensive Assessment and Reporting
  • Technology for Statistical Modeling
  • Experience with Permitting & Regulatory Compliance

HANA Resources Bridges the Gap Between Technology and Environment

Since 1995, HANA Resources has been providing innovative solutions that blend the world of environmental science and technology. With over 20 years of experience conducting site assessments, we’re well-versed in regulatory compliance and science-based collection methods.

We employ a carefully curated team of leading scientists and engineers working together to provide responsive and results-oriented environmental services that you can rely on. Our expert geologists work closely with California’s regulatory agencies to design and conduct effective site assessments for your risk analysis needs.

What Makes HANA Resources Different?

Our expertise shines through a wide variety of biological resource services. From pre-construction surveys to restoration oversight, we’re committed to providing high-quality data to improve the human impact on our environment.

We’ve been recognized by the Climate Change Business Journal and Environmental Business Journal as a leader in innovative technology shaping the future of the world we live in. Our research on water management and petroleum plant redevelopment has been widely recognized. We’re proud to provide high-quality data that makes a difference in our world every day

Related: NEPA Environmental Assessments

The Bottom Line on Phase 2 Environmental Assessments

When your phase one site assessment turns up the suspicion of hazardous elements on a site, more information is needed to determine the risk level. Phase 2 environmental assessments are designed to collect data and evaluate the results based on contamination found in soil and other environmental samples. While there are some basic guidelines of what to include, the methodology and accuracy of the final report tend to vary based on the credentials and expertise of the assessor. 

HANA Resources is a reputable environmental consultancy firm that uses sound scientific principles and innovative technology to collect accurate data for comprehensive, high-quality reports. Learn more today.

How Ecosystem & Habitat Restoration Use Drones

Long grass blowing in wind on sunny day.

The conveniences of our modern world still run primarily on fuel and minerals obtained through large-scale mining operations. Humans have been mining since the stone age, but we probably only think back to the mining operations of the early 1900s when we think about how long we’ve been harvesting the earth’s resources.

While we’ve been at the mining gig for a while, these operations look a lot different today than they did a century ago. For one, we’ve learned that maintaining biodiversity plays an important role in carbon absorption. This led to coordinated ecosystem and habitat restoration efforts which are now getting a lot more attention as more people become aware of our need for sustainable living.

Goals for Restoration Projects

Ecological restoration is intended to accelerate the recovery of disturbed ecosystems. While the most common example of habitat restoration comes from mining operations, the industrial age has taken its toll on the earth. There are plenty of other restoration efforts underway around the globe.

Restoration projects can serve different goals, like:

  • Revegetation
  • Habitat Enhancement
  • Mitigation for Protected Species or Ecosystems
  • Remediation of Existing Threats

Accomplishing any type of restoration project is a long-term process. It begins with a site assessment and defining the scope of the restoration project. From there, the restoration team can begin taking actionable steps like removing disturbances, restoring ecological processes, rehabilitating substrates, and restoring vegetation. These steps require monitoring, and each time humans intervene in the environment, progress is stalled.

Related: Leveraging Agriculture Drone Imaging for Soil Mapping & Analysis

Drones as a Solution for Monitoring Restoration Projects

The industry is increasingly turning to technology to solve its project management problem. For example, drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) can survey large plots of land using various technologies like aerial photography, thermal imaging, and contour mapping without impeding the progress of the restoration project.

Some of the practical ways that drones have helped include:

  • Mapping Plant Growth
  • Tracking Pollution Sources
  • Measuring Shorelines
  • Monitor Wildlife Activity

HANA Resources provides detailed and innovative solutions to your ecological data problems. Learn more today.

An Example of Ecological Drones in Practice

A project to monitor the natural ecosystems in coastal communities located in the Eastern United States utilizes drone technology as a less-invasive method for monitoring changes. Elizabeth City State University and Audubon North Carolina have teamed up to harness the power of technology for ecology management.

The main feature of their coastal resilience program utilizes drone technology to map shoreline changes and vegetation in the Outer Banks. The marshes are hard otherwise difficult to access, and data has been hard to collect in this area. The aerial view of drones provides a different perspective that can’t be seen from ground level. It’s been an invaluable tool to recognize patterns and target habitat restoration efforts.

Coastlines are subject to natural erosion from waves and natural disasters. The impact of these changes is intensified by rising sea levels and erosion that is currently the target of many environmental efforts. These changes impact critical wetland habitats that are home to hundreds of species in this case.

Related: The Benefits of Using Drones for Environmental Monitoring

The project has been able to use drone technology to identify areas where the vegetation is less green. Imaging is tracked with specific GPS coordinates allowing conservationists to identify individual plants and measure changes down to centimeters with high-resolution photography. They can use thermal imaging to tell if conditions are hot or moist and identify the extent of variation from typical measurements.

Compared to the alternative–using low-resolution satellite imagery, drones have provided a responsive and feasible solution to managing this habitat restoration project. These marshes were once thought of as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and disease. But through ecological study, we now know that they provide a crucial habitat that’s degradation negatively impacts birds, fish, and plant species–as well as our larger ecosystem.

Take Control of Ecosystem & Habitat Restoration with Drone Services by HANA Resources

HANA Resources is an environmental enterprise solution located in California. Our team of scientists and engineers collaborate to provide high-quality services blending science and technology for better environmental outcomes.

We provide a full range of drone services to help manage ecosystem and habitat restoration projects, like:

  • 3D Photogrammetry
  • Aerial Mapping
  • Algae Detection
  • Dense Point Clouds for Elevation Mapping
  • Contour Mapping
  • Plant Species Recognition
  • Plant Health Assessments
  • Thermal Imaging
  • Progress Monitoring

We’re committed to providing tailored services to meet the needs of your habitat restoration project. Our progress monitoring flights can be scheduled weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to provide you with timely updates when you need them.

Why Choose HANA Resources

Founded in 1995, HANA Resources tirelessly works towards one goal–using technology to change the environmental industry for the better. When it comes to managing your habitat restoration projects, that means we make a big job a whole lot easier.

When you work with our environmental consulting firm, you get decades of curated expertise in science, innovation, and natural resources. Our team is made up of scientists, engineers, and technology specialists who focus on making cutting-edge technologies useful for environmental purposes.

We work with many industries, including government or tribal agencies, utility companies, transportation, commercial/industrial, energy, natural resources, and more. HANA Resources is your A-team for quality environmental data from reliable expertise that you can trust to high-quality deliverables and science-backed methodologies.

HANA Resources is a certified diversity environmental consulting firm using advanced technology and science to remove subjectivity in data collection for our clients. When you work with us, you get:

  • Proprietary Technologies
  • Strategic Approach
  • Reproducible Methods
  • Commitment to Innovation

Related: Drone Land Surveying & Mapping: Here are the Advantages

The Bottom Line on HANA Resources & Drones for Habitat Restoration

There’s no argument–drones provide a less-invasive, cost-effective option for managing habitat restoration projects. The technology is superior to any other method available. The difference that HANA Resources makes is opening up the door to your options for using drones in your habitat restoration projects. While other companies might be limited to aerial photography, we offer a wide range of biological services using our proprietary technologies. The level of detail and accuracy in our drones’ data is second to none in the environmental industry.

HANA Resources is your technology-oriented leader for quality environmental data. Learn more today.

Critical Habitat Mitigation & Guidance Strategies

Snowy mountain range backdrop.

Natural habitats suffer from a range of natural factors and man-made factors that threaten the plants and animals that call these habitats home. Habitat loss can endanger species and push invasive species into new territories–threatening other habitats. While there is a growing trend to live more sustainably, our industrialized world is responsible for most of the habitat loss.

Environmental agencies that recognize the destructive outcome of habitat loss engage in critical habitat mitigation efforts to stop destruction and promote the rebuilding of natural habitats. In some cases, these activities are directed by local governments.

What is Critical Habitat Mitigation

Government agencies that protect the environment or wildlife recognize a number of factors that contribute to the degradation of natural habitats, ultimately threatening various species. Some of these habitats are essential, meaning that diminished quality will lead to the extinction of a species. Some habitats are important, promoting the sustainability of a species but ultimately not tied directly to its survival.

Additionally, some habitats are considered irreplaceable. These habitats–like rainforests,  cannot be restored within a feasible amount of time. Other habitats have a high restoration potential as certain activities are reduced or relocated from an area, the natural habitat rebounds. 

Natural habitats include things like:

  • Bogs
  • Natural Springs
  • Marshes
  • Forested Areas
  • Wetlands
  • Grass Fields

These two categories are used to direct critical habitat mitigation efforts. Essential habitats receive high priority while important habitats might receive a lesser priority depending on need. Critical habitat mitigation efforts will identify potential threats, assign priority, and define mitigation strategies to stop further damage or begin repairing existing damage to natural habitats.

Related: NEPA Environmental Assessments

Common Guidance Strategies

Agencies tasked with critical habitat mitigation use a series of guidance strategies to direct their actions. For example, an irreplaceable and essential habitat like a natural spring would employ the goal of zero loss of habitat quality using the strategy of avoidance. This means that local government or park officials governing the area might restrict access to the natural spring.

Another example would be an essential habitat in a salmon spawning stream would have a goal of no net loss of habitat quantity or quality. To achieve this goal, the environmental agency tasked with managing this section of the stream would utilize proximity measures to monitor the habitat and restrict access as needed.

How habitats are managed depends largely on what the goal for mitigation is. For some habitats, there is a hard line with zero loss of habitat expected. For others, it comes down to a measure of no net loss or an effort to simply minimize the impact of other factors.

Common mitigation strategies:

  • Avoidance: to restrict traffic or activity to a habitat.
  • Proximity: To monitor activity and restrict access as necessary.
  • Activity limited to actions that improve habitat conditions.
  • Activity managed to minimize the impact on natural habitats.

Habitat mitigation does not impact private landowners. The government cannot take ownership or manage activities on privately owned land. And the presence of critical habitat on private land does not establish a preserve or conservation area. It also does not allow the government or the public access to private land. The restrictions and activities set forth by these measures offer public protection against the future development of restricted land only.

Related: Types of Remote Sensing: Which is Better for Your Environmental Project

For federal agencies, this means that they are prohibited from destroying designated habitats. It also means that land management and development projects must be cleared to ensure they do not negatively impact a designated critical habitat.

HANA Resources is a leading provider of drone-assisted technologies for environmental monitoring. Learn more about our progress monitoring solutions today.

What Factors are Used to Determine a Critical Habitat?

Biologists and other environmental scientists may use a number of factors when deciding if land fits the definition of critical habitat. Here are some common features:

  • Is there ample space for population growth and the normal behavior of the species?
  • Does the area provide a natural shelter necessary for the survival of the species?
  • Does the area meet the physiological needs of the species?
  • Are there reproduction sites for breeding or seed dispersal?

While environmental concerns are paramount, some critical habitats may be excluded if their is a negative economic impact or threat to national security.

HANA Resources Biological Studies

HANA Resources is a leading environmental consulting firm that specializes in using technology to gather data and conduct assessments to support habitat restoration and critical habitat mitigation activities.

Our team of scientists, technologists, and engineers provide innovative solutions that blend technology and science to provide complete and accurate data for biological assessments. We work with special-status species permits, botanical surveys, avoidance and minimization recommendations, fish and wildlife, and much more.

Founded in 1995, HANA has been providing exceptional, science-backed data collection and surveying reports for more than two decades. We serve government agencies and commercial operations of all sizes with state-of-the-art, proprietary technologies. Our biological services division can help inventory endangered species or monitor habitat mitigation activities using our minimally-invasive drone technologies.

Drone Services by HANA Resources

One of the leading services offered by our environmental firm is a wide range of drone-assisted technologies. With our drones, we can access critical habitats and provide real-time progress updates on mitigation efforts using aerial mapping, plant health assessments, thermal imaging, and more.

We believe that better environmental management strategies are possible with the right technologies. That’s why our team works tirelessly to make the right technologies accessible to the people and groups tasked with keeping our ecosystems healthy.

Related: Plant Health Flight for OCWD

Final Thoughts on Critical Habitat Mitigation

Every species of plant and animal on the earth is interconnected through a series of habitats. As one endangered species dies out or one habitat is erased by industrialization, the lives of all other species on the planet are impacted in some small (or big) way.

As we learn more about the impact of biodiversity on our own lives, like the impact on human nutrition through food production, managing critical habitats and safeguarding the earth’s natural resources becomes increasingly important. HANA Resources is committed to helping critical habitat mitigation and restoration activities protect and restore the earth.

HANA Resources is an innovative environmental technology firm here to help you collect data and monitor the progress of your mitigation efforts. Learn more today.

Leveraging Agriculture Drone Imaging for Soil Mapping & Analysis

Aerial photo of farm land.
Drones are nothing new. Everyone has heard of this incredible technology used in some way before. For example, drones are being tested to chase tornadoes, or to fly through war zones. Sometimes drones are used for photography. Several industries utilize drone technology. But have you heard of them used for agriculture? Farmers have more resources and technology to maintain their crops than ever before. We use drones all the time for spatial mapping and imaging. At HANA Resources, we understand the importance of crop health. Today, we’re shedding light on drone imaging, how it helps farmers, and how HANA can help you. We have over 20 years worth of site assessment experience. Learn more here.

What Is Aerial Imaging In Agriculture?

Aerial imaging means taking images with drones to help farmers manage crops, soil, irrigation, and fertilization.  Different drones accomplish different tasks. Some drones specifically spray pesticides and herbicides, while other drones plant and fertilize. Drones that take images to collect data use spectral remote sensing and imaging to gather data and translate that data into useful information. Remote sensing tracks data using radiation from the ground. Doing so allows drones to track physical characteristics and heat. Some drones go one step further and use multispectral imaging. These drones can capture visible and invisible light sensors. The two maps that remote sensing and imaging drones create are:

RGB Maps

RGB (Red Green Blue) maps offer a bird’s eye view to help you see exactly how much land you have and assist with crop monitoring. NDVI Maps NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) maps have the same features as RGB maps, except they show the amount of infrared light reflected in the area. The light signals drought and nutrient-depleted land. Remote sensing has allowed farmers to identify problems early and find solutions sooner. This is crucial considering the estimated world population count should skyrocket to 9 billion people by 2050. In addition, climate change has also given farmers new layers of obstacles with pest management, water loss, and loss of land entirely. But how exactly are drones applied to the agriculture industry? What sort of information do they provide? RELATED: Plant Health Analysis using NDVI  Drones use distance-measuring equipment to adjust altitude when topography and geography change. Drone services for farming

How Drones Are Used In Agriculture

You might be considering using drone technology for your crops but aren’t sure how drones benefit. Let’s compare six ways how drones have benefited agriculture in the past.
  1. Identify pests
Drones use distance-measuring equipment to adjust altitude when topography and geography change. Distance-measuring equipment includes ultrasonic echoing, lasers, and LiDAR (light-detection and ranging).
  1. Analyzing soil and field
Drones produce 3D maps of fields. These maps help track and predict seed planting patterns.
  1. Planting
Drones have helped decrease planting costs by 85%. Drone-planting systems plant pods and inject nutrients into the soil at the same time. RELATED: Invasive Plant Species Mapping In The Santa Ana River Watershed
  1. Monitor crop damage
Drone technology has given farmers the power to monitor their crops previously in ways they couldn’t. Farmers can now spot bacterial and fungal infections sooner with drone imaging data. They measure water intake, anomalies, and other infestations.
  1. Monitor livestock
Livestock can also be supervised from an aerial perspective. Drones can count and monitor movement patterns. If a herd needs to be moved, drones can assist the farmer in relocating the animals. This helps reduce time and energy.
  1. Estimate crop yield
Unpredictability is one of agriculture’s most dreaded obstacles. Drone images can measure the size, height, and density of plants. This means the data provided can help farmers predict more accurate yield results. RELATED: HANA Resources Water Management & Plant Health UAV Flights

How HANA Resources Uses Drone Imaging

Everything you’ve read up to this point may seem overwhelming. Or possibly exciting! Our mission at HANA is to simplify the environmental industry, and we believe we can do that through drone technology. Here are a few ways we use drone imaging for mapping an analysis:
  • 3D Photogrammetry- HANA extracts 3D information from photographs and uses this information to evaluate the physical characteristics of the land.
  • Aerial Mapping- Orthomosaic mapping offers a realistic representation of a landscape that produces measurements of topography and infrastructure. We can create these accurate maps through drone platforms.
  • Algae Detection- We’ve developed our own technologies to identify algae in the water. Remote sensing technologies have allowed us to provide the most efficient algae detection and removal services.
  • Dense Point Clouds- Point Cloud density is the number of coordinates collected per area. Dense Point Clouds are helpful when using 3D modeling. We use Dense Point Cloud technology in both commercial properties and site management.
  • Contour Mapping-  A contour map is a topographic map showing the land surface via contour lines. Landscapes vary in height and elevation, and our drones capture this change effortlessly with ultra-high-resolution cameras.
  • Plant Species Recognition- Our RGB maps, combined with thermal and radiometric data, give our clients a chance to make informed decisions quickly and effectively regarding changes in their vegetation and landscape.
  • Plant Health Assessments- HANA is an industry leader in utilizing remote sensing to detect changes in vegetation on a habitat landscape scale. Our assessments determine plant height, condition, and health of plants. We identify non-native plants and invasive species.
  • Thermal Imaging- Thermal imaging is a technique that uses reflective heat to identify and locate objects. It’s applied in high and low-visibility environments.
  • Progress Monitoring- Our drones will monitor the progress of a landscape based on our client’s needs. Comprehensive photos and videos save hundreds of hours in manual labor, saving you money.
drone flying over farm country.

What’s Next?

Drones continue to evolve and aren’t stopping anytime soon. As technology progresses and the population increases, farmers will see drones used everywhere. Drones can monitor any crop in any area. Because it’s an evolving technology, the potential for the agriculture industry is only beginning. We use the latest UAV technology to give our clients accurate, high-resolution information at an affordable price. Our 23 years of combined experience in the environmental industry, matched with our love of technology, gives farmers a hopeful look into the future. For more information regarding our drone services, contact HANA Resources today! Our specialists use GIS with the latest technology to carry out spatial mapping and remote sensing services. Learn more about our mapping and spatial technologies.

NEPA Environmental Assessments: What You Need to Know

Golden field landscape at sunset

There’s a lot of confusion about what the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) does. Some of the most common misconceptions include the belief that NEPA applies only to historical properties or exclusively to projects with a major environmental impact.

NEPA exists to guide federal agencies in making environmentally sound decisions. It covers a broad scope, focusing on examining environmental implications from the get-go rather than acting as an enforcement mechanism.

NEPA was the first major environmental policy law in the United States. It was signed by President Nixon in 1969 and continues to ensure that federal decisions are better informed, inviting citizen involvement to ensure that the environmental impact is considered before federal land is developed, managed, or used for a new purpose.

What is the Benefit of Requiring NEPA Assessments?

A NEPA assessment can serve many different purposes. For example, it provides a framework for ensuring that each generation acts as good stewards of the environment. It protects natural resources, ensuring that all Americans access safe, productive, aesthetically-pleasing environmental surroundings. It balances populations and their effects on the environment, and it works to preserve natural, cultural, or historical aspects. The long and short of it is that NEPA assessments ensure that the environment is considered before decisions regarding land use.

Despite the good intentions, NEPA assessments do not inherently prevent negative environmental impacts. While agencies and the public can come together to explore the potential for environmental impact and identify alternatives, there are no requirements preventing actions.

Related: Drone Land Surveying & Mapping: Here Are the Advantages

When is a NEPA Assessment Required?

As a measure of oversight, federal agencies must demonstrate compliance with NEPA assessments before the final decisions are made in a wide range of projects, like:

  • Federal Construction Projects
  • Managing Federally Owned Land
  • Developing Federally Owned Land
  • Approval of Grants, Licenses, & Permits

HANA Resources specializes in collecting and sharing information about the environment, aimed at helping stakeholders in the environmental industry make more sustainable decisions. Learn more today.

Beautiful park with fountain.

The NEPA Assessment Process

There are three levels of assessment depending on the complexity of the project. Every day, government agencies participate in hundreds of activities that require at least the first level of NEPA assessment.

Level 1 – Categorical Exclusion

The assessment process begins by asking two questions. If these questions show no relationship to an environmental impact, then the project is excluded from the detailed NEPA assessment requirement.

  • Does this project affect the quality of the human environment?
  • Are there any conflicts regarding the alternative use of resources?

Level 2 – Environmental Assessment (EA)

For projects that will significantly impact the environment or available resources, the environmental assessment will identify issues to be addressed, provide a framework for public comment, and prepare formal documentation regarding the matter.

The environmental assessment must include:

  • Purpose (Needs Statement)
  • List of Alternatives (Including No Action if applicable)
  • Description of the Affected Environment
  • Explanation of the Potential Consequences
  • Coordination of Reporting Activities

Related: Types of Remote Sensing: Which is Better for Your Environmental Project?

Level 3 – Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

For major projects that will significantly impact the environment, an environmental impact statement must be prepared to inform decision-makers and the public of the project, its consequences, and potential alternatives.

Preparing an EIS begins by organizing the available data to define the project’s scope. Then, armed with the facts, the agency coordinates with other agencies and interested parties to prepare formal recommendations. The project is advertised through news releases, and a full draft of the EIS is presented to the public for comment. A public meeting is held to discuss the EIS, and the documents are finalized pending the public comments. The final draft is also published to the public and filed as documentation.

An EIS statement includes:

  • Purpose (Needs Statement)
  • List of Alternatives
  • Description of the Affected Environment
  • Explanation of Environmental Impact
  • Identification of All Parties Consulted

NEPA assessments are designed to address the potential environmental impact of developing or using federal lands. These assessments aim to gather and present information so that agencies and the public can make better-informed decisions. All NEPA assessments are documented with a record of decision and shared publicly.

How HANA Resources Uses Technology to Help the Environment

HANA Resources is an environmental consulting firm that bridges the gap between science and policy using technological innovation. Our team relies on the expertise of scientists, engineers, and technology leaders to help our clients make better decisions about their environmental impact.

Our technology includes drones, cameras, and predictive software to model environmental situations. Our tools help industries like energy, transportation, industrial, and government agencies make smarter decisions about how their operations impact the environment. We take pride in providing the data to build a more sustainable future.

What makes us different than other environmental consultants is our approach. We rely on patented, proprietary technologies to collect data. And we stick with science-backed methodologies to ensure high-quality data with reproducible results. Our company is committed to staying on the leading edge of innovation, providing our clients with the latest technologies to provide data for improving corporate sustainability efforts. But most of all, our approach is designed to be tailored to individual client needs. We’re committed to being a flexible solution in an ever-changing world.

Related: Plant Health Flight for OCWD

Fain falling on hand.

The Bottom Line on Environmental Assessments

HANA Resources can help collect the data that you need to prepare high-impact environmental assessments that keep you in compliance with NEPA. The National Environmental Policy Act has been around for decades. It’s a broad policy covering nearly every type of activity involving federal land and the human environment. And the burden of compliance falls on government agencies. The scope of these assessments is so broad that most agencies have internal offices dedicated to NEPA compliance.

HANA Resources collaborates with federal agencies to help them gather the data needed for comprehensive, effective NEPA assessments. Learn more today.

Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) With HANA Resources

Two women sitting at a desk working on paperwork.
Performing a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is crucial for understanding whether or not a property is likely to contain any recognized environmental conditions. These conditions include the presence—or the likely presence—of petroleum products or hazardous materials that may be released in the future. All Phase 1 ESAs must meet the standard practices outlined in the ASTM E1527. It’s best to conduct this assessment before purchasing property or transferring legal ownership to gain a big picture view of any possible environmental issues.

Why Perform a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment?

The purpose of performing a Phase 1 ESA is to ensure adequate due diligence as part of a property transfer. This limits the liability of the purchaser from any existing environmental conditions. Related: The Best Type of Remote Sensing for Your Environmental Project You’ll want to perform a Phase 1 ESA to determine if a property contains any environmental hazards before you buy. If those hazards are later found on your property after purchasing it, you’ll more than likely be liable. This liability also comes with new problems – you could be on the hook for expensive remediation (even if you didn’t cause the contamination).

When Are Phase 1 ESAs Necessary?

Performing a Phase 1 ESA is a good idea for various situations, including:
  • Commercial real estate transactions—especially when they involve a bank loan.
  • Commercial property transactions
  • Transactions of properties near commercial or industrial operations
  • Transactions involving commercial or industrial operations that use hazardous materials
  • Transactions of properties with known environmental liens
  • Transactions of properties involving oil or gas exploration
A man pointing at sticky notes on a whiteboard.

How to Perform a Phase 1 ESA

If you need to complete a Phase 1 ESA for a property, according to standard guidelines, you’ll need to consult an environmental professional like HANA Resources. During this time, you should keep in mind several things about having an environmental consultant perform a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment:
  • The process can take up to 20 days (or sometimes more) to complete, depending on your specific project.
  • It’s crucial to ensure you have enough time during your due diligence period to perform the Phase 1 ESA.
  • Start talking with your environmental consultant either before or immediately after starting your due diligence period to ensure that the site assessment timeline fits within your transaction schedule.
  • Phase 1 ESA reports will expire six months after the final report.
  • However, you can have the report updated after the original 180 days.
  • If you cooperate fully with your environmental consultant’s requests, you can typically complete the Phase 1 ESA in a shorter amount of time.

What Happens During a Phase 1 Environmental Assessment?

HANA Resources can complete reports of Phase 1 ESAs on any of property, including agricultural, vacant, industrial, commercial, and multi-family residential land. The report’s intent is to identify if any current or historical property uses impacted the groundwater or soil on the property that could pose a threat to human health or the environment. Any issues could impact the property owner’s liability and the property’s value. Related: Our Compliance Monitoring Services Typically, a Phase 1 ESA will include the following:
  • A visit to the site to observe conditions—both current and past— and the uses of the property & adjacent properties
  • A review of regulatory databases—state, federal, tribal, and local—including aboveground and underground storage tanks, suspected or known release cases, and the storage or disposal of hazardous substances and waste
  • A review of historical records, including aerial photographs, historical city directories and topographic maps, and fire insurance maps
  • A review of local and state agency records, including building, fire, and health departments and state environmental agencies
  • Interviews with the past and current property owners, occupants, operators, etc
  • Interviews with Report Users for judicial and title records for environmental activities and liens, use limitations, and reasonably ascertainable information.
Once completed, the environmental professional conducting the Phase 1 ESA will summarize any concerns they identify and recommend what actions you should take. A recognized environmental condition indicates either a known or potential contamination, and a controlled recognized environmental condition identifies that, while the contamination has been remediated, it would require more work if redeveloped. A historically recognized environmental condition means that an issue affecting the property has been investigated and remediated with unrestricted use criteria.

How HANA Resources Can Help With Your Phase 1 ESA

The process and reporting of a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment can be confusing, particularly for those unfamiliar with them. It’s crucial to find and work with an environmental consultant who is willing to walk you through the entire study and its results. An environmental professional will keep you updated on important discoveries and can you determine whether or not your decision to purchase a property is a good one. The right environmental firm can save you an invaluable amount of time, resources, and money. A view of Los Angeles, California.

Our Site Assessment Services

At HANA Resources, we’ve been performing various site assessments, including Phase 1 ESAs, for over 20 years across California. Our key personnel environmental consultants are approaching 35 years of experience performing these studies. We have expert-level experience evaluating properties possibly impacted with suspected or known hazardous and regulated materials. Our staff of scientists has deep knowledge of Phase 1 ESA requirements, along with Phase 2 site characterizations and assessments of a broad range of properties. These properties range from gas stations and dry cleaning businesses to industrial manufacturing facilities and full-scale petroleum refineries. Between our experienced geologists and expert environmental scientists, our team has the knowledge, capability, and experience needed to plan and implement Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessments and other site investigation programs. We do so in an efficient, cost-effective manner that abides by all of California’s regulatory requirements. All of our actions align with our mission to bring our clients responsive, results-oriented, and affordable environmental services. Other than Phase 1 ESAs, we offer additional site assessment services, including:
  • Phase II Environmental Site Assessments
  • Hydrogeologic Evaluations & Modeling
  • Remedial Investigations & Feasibility Studies
  • RCRA Permitting & Closure
  • Regulatory Agency Coordination & Negotiations
  • Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
  • Hazardous Waste
In need of a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment for your property or a property you plan to purchase? Our environmental experts can walk you through the process and ensure a timely, efficient study. Contact us today. Related: View Our Projects!

The Benefits of Using Drones for Environmental Monitoring

From hand-drawn charts to HD aerial photographs, we’ve helped organizations and government agencies monitor ecosystems, track environmental changes, and more for years. The systems used to capture and process environmental monitoring information continually evolve and provide those who can make positive changes with actionable, accurate insights. By using drone technology, we can survey and map a broad range of environmental factors, including algae detection, plant species recognition, plant health assessments, and much more. Then, organizations can use this data to make more informed decisions to protect humans and nature alike. Using drones for environmental monitoring helps us create digital environments that give better insights into natural habitats. Related: View Our Environmental Projects

Drones Help Create Digital Images With Better Precision.

Putting together infrared imaging, geolocation data like LIDAR, and aerial images lets us form more accurate representations of the environment. That combination is critical for environmental monitoring; more accurate data means organizations can make decisions being more-informed. Known as the Epic Duck Challenge, this study showed that data derived from drones are more accurate anywhere from 43% to 96% than data collected from ground counts. Those results mean that drone technology is crucial for collecting accurate environmental information. Take LIDAR, which collects measurements for maps and models of terrain and objects, technology as an example—it’s crucial for coastal erosion monitoring. You can use drones to collect data from areas with vast coastlines. This allows you to produce high-res maps by the use of photogrammetric images. At HANA Resources, we use drone technology like LIDAR, 3D photogrammetry, and contour mapping to create detailed data sets to help our clients make strategic decisions about habitat and environmental protection.
Aerial drone flying over the water during sunset.
Aerial drone flying over the water during sunset.

Drone Technology Is a Safe and Accessible Way to Gather Environmental Data.

Using drone technology, we can easily gather environmental information without putting the environment or people in harm’s way. Look at fragile ecosystems—we can easily unintentionally cause damage while physically assessing and monitoring the area. For example, we may inadvertently disrupt the behaviors of the wildlife population or introduce the environment to new pathogens, causing negative effects for the ecosystem. Performing environmental monitoring services with drones allows researchers to avoid that issue and not cause harm to the environment they’re focused on. In addition, gathering data from a safe distance using drones is invaluable to collecting and monitoring environmental information. Additionally, without drones, we often have to navigate through dangerous terrain to gather environmental data. Drones offer an alternative to studying areas virtually impossible to reach without causing damage to either the ecosystem or the researchers. And the stakes are even higher for researchers trekking through dangerous terrain while they respond to disasters like floods, wildfires, oil spills, or even tracking poachers. In many cases, using drones to collect environmental information is a much safer way to collect data.

8 Ways to Use Drones for Environmental Monitoring

As a certified diversity environmental consulting firm, we use advanced technology to produce objective and process-driven methodologies for environmental monitoring. From tribal agencies and government entities to private market sectors, we’re proving that using drones for environmental monitoring is the future of natural resource management. Related: Biological Resources for Your Environmental Project Now, let’s look at some of the most significant uses for drones in the environmental monitoring space:

1. 3D Photogrammetry

At HANA Resources, we use 3D photogrammetry technology to process and produce 3D models. With ultra-high-resolution cameras, we can create high-polygon count 3D models in various spectral bands. Our services take depth information that is produced by overlapping images to analyze the height, size, and distance of various objects and structures.

2. Aerial Mapping

We use drones to provide you with orthomosaic mapping and aerial imagery. With a variety of ultra-high-resolution, hyperspectral, and multispectral cameras, we can respond to any project’s goals. Using GIS software, we create flight plans for each mission and can fly efficiently over any site without going outside of your project’s boundaries.

3. Contour Mapping

By using our point cloud and 3D photogrammetry technologies, we can produce high-grade contour data from drone flights alone. We can survey areas that are otherwise impassable on foot, and at the highest resolutions, we can offer sub-foot contour lines. A single flight can save project teams hundreds of hours of mapping and monitoring.

4. Thermal Imaging

Our drones are well-equipped to handle projects requiring thermal monitoring and imaging. Our thermal imaging methodologies have been successfully used in the public sector, private sector, and government applications. We can determine leakage in irrigation systems, identify and quantify wildlife habits, and everything in between.
An aerial view of a forest taken from a drone.
An aerial view of a forest taken from a drone.

5. Dense Point Clouds

We proudly offer dense point cloud datasets that our clients use for terrain modeling, elevation mapping, and GIS processes. From mapping terrain and elevation profiles to landscape features, the commercial, private, and government market sectors have all benefited from drone usage for environmental monitoring. Our UAS platforms can collect and process point clouds extremely accurately with high density per tile. We can produce tiles at various densities to suit your project’s needs.

6. Algae Detection

Our pioneering technologies for detecting and sensing areas of algae is unbeatable. By using UAS platforms with the newest remote sensing techniques, we can quantify and assess concentrations of algae and algae blooms within bodies of water. Drone imagery gives your project team what they need to deploy efficient allocations of assets for any algae removal application.

7. Plant Species Recognition

Our geospatial services allow us to collect accurate data using thermal, RGD, and radiometric sources for modeling and analysis. Then, we present that monitoring data in easy-to-interpret reports to assist environmental managers in making informed, timely decisions while ensuring environmental compliance. At HANA Resources, we can accurately map and find the density of individual, invasive, and native plant species.

8. Plant Health Assessments

We utilize the latest UAV technology to provide you with a cost-effective and highly efficient way to collect data from high-res aerial surveys. Using multispectral imagery, we can create highly accurate and detailed maps for environmental monitoring. We can determine vegetation health and condition, identify plant height stratification, and recognize non-native species. Learn more about the benefits of using drones for environmental monitoring—Get in touch with us at HANA Resources and see how we can help you achieve success in your next environmental project. Related: Cultural Resources for Your Environmental Project

How Construction Site Projects Benefit from Drone Photography

Drone photographing a construction site.

Drones have quickly found their way into many different practical uses, especially in construction.These small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) provide a convenient and cost-effective way to put eyes in the sky. Outfiting drones with high-resolution cameras makes it easy to record video and photography from new vantage points. Drones have become particularly useful in how modern construction projects are being managed.

The construction industry is typically plagued with inefficiencies. Most projects take 20% longer than projected, and 80% or more are over-budget. Construction site aerial photography using drones is one way contractors can reclaim some of their lost ground.

Aerial Photography in Construction

Aerial photography has proven itself to be an invaluable tool for managing construction projects. Contractors have new ways to compare aerial views of mid-construction progress to building plans. This process alone has helped the industry avoid costly and time sensitive mistakes. Aerial photography was once cost-prohibitive and not widely used in construction but that changed when unmanned drones added more flexibility to rethink how we capture aerial images.

Related: Types of Remote Sensing: Which is Better for your Environmental Project?

Benefits of Aerial Photography

Aerial photography using drones is hands-down the most cost-effective option for gathering information about a job site. Saving money isn’t the only benefit of drone aerial photography however. Access to accurate data, improved safety on the job site, and real-time data when managing ongoing projects are just a few of the benefits of relying on drone-based aerial photography.


Drone photography allows for cost-effective and efficient surveying of larger construction sites. In years past, these surveys were done on foot and required a survey crew and several days’ worth of labor. It was costly and time-consuming, leaving construction companies forced to cut corners and make a lot of assumptions. Plus, these surveys could only capture one vantage point from the ground. With aerial photography construction, crews get a birds-eye-view of the construction site, complete with detailed data.


Unmanned drones provide a safe way to capture detailed imaging of expansive or difficult to traverse terrain. There’s no flight crew on board or survey crew on foot to consider for safety reasons. Drones flights can be automated using GIS software and planned flight paths or operated remotely.

Efficient, Data-Driven Decisions

Aerial photography captured by drones takes the guesswork from managing a build in progress. Managers or contracted firms send drones out for real-time updates, covering expansive construction sites in a matter of minutes.

A construction blueprint closeup with pen and ruler.
A construction blueprint closeup with pen and ruler.

Who Benefits from Drone Photography in Construction

Drones for aerial photography are primarily used for surveying land. These machines are outfitted with high-resolution RGB cameras and programmed to take multiple images with geotags. This photography is a great way to inspect hard-to-reach areas like rooftops and inaccessible terrain. Aerial photography is the only way to monitor vegetation rows and plant growth in remote areas. It’s also the most efficient way to monitor large-scale infrastructure projects like roads and railroads. Companies involved in building or managing roads, railways, bridges, water reservoirs, energy resources, and similar types of operations rely on drone aerial photography the most.

HANA Resources is a leader in environmental technology consultation. Our team of scientists, engineers, and technology experts is committed to revolutionizing the environmental industry by providing real-time, high-quality data that matters. Learn more today.

Related: Drone Land Surveying & Mapping

Drone Photography by HANA Resources

Our environmental consulting firm engages in monitoring and data collection for various clients in the biological sciences space. We use state-of-the-art UAS to capture real-time data, including RGB photography to monitor natural resources, environmental impact, and habitat restoration projects.

Our cutting-edge, proprietary technology can be used to obtain special status permits, conduct botanical surveys, assess fisheries and aquatic life, conduct pre-construction surveys, monitor builds in progress, aid in wildlife recovery and relocation, and much more.

3D Photogrammetry

HANA relies on 3D photogrammetry to produce 3D models based on our drones’ data. This allows us to provide unique data sets on heights, distances, structure size, and proximity to other objects.

Aerial Mapping

Our drones are outfitted with the right technologies to provide our clients with ultra-high-definition aerial imagery and orthomosaic mapping. We use GIS software to create programmed flight paths for our drones that maximize the efficiency of every flight. HANA can provide complete and accurate data even in the most difficult terrain.

Progress Monitoring

Drone imaging by HANA Resources is the best way to get a birds-eye-view of large scale construction projects in progress. Our team can provide drone-assisted monitoring with updated images at intervals of your choosing, including weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly flights. Our detailed images and video captures are a great way to show your clients real-time progress.

Drone-assisted aerial photography is a great way to get accurate data for land surveys and construction progress. We take pride in eliminating the guesswork so that you can make better decisions based on science and real-time data.

A river running through a green marsh at sunset.
A river running through a green marsh at sunset.

The Bottom Line on Drone Photography for Construction

High-resolution aerial images captured by drone technologies is adding a lot of efficiency to the construction industry. Projects that formerly struggled to stay on time and under budget now have access to better data at a fraction of the cost and in much less time compared to traditional surveying methods. Like the services provided by HANA Resources, drone photography is cost-effective, safe, and efficient use of time. These drones can provide high-quality information from the point of view that was previously inaccessible. These drones have proven to be an invaluable tool for managing construction projects.

HANA Resources is an innovative industry leader in technologies to monitor and collect data using aerial imagery from unmanned drones. With HANA, you get nothing but the very best quality data curated by our team of engineers and scientists. Learn more today.

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Bioassessments: How HANA Resources Can Help You

A clean lake surrounded by trees.
Because of their sensitivity to changes in environmental quality, monitoring macroinvertebrates is a vital part of every bioassessment and biomonitoring program.

Our team at HANA Resources consists of skilled aquatic biologists and entomologists who utilize various methods to collect benthic macroinvertebrates from their aquatic habitats. We use qualitative, quantitative, and semi-quantitative techniques depending on your project’s requirements.

Related: The Best Types of Remote Sensing for Your Environmental Project

Benthic Macroinvertebrates: What They Are & Why They Matter

A macroinvertebrate is an organism without a backbone that is visible to the naked eye. Aquatic macroinvertebrates live around, under, and on sediment and rocks found on the bottoms of streams, lakes, and rivers.

Due to their habitat choice, we refer to most macroinvertebrates as “benthos,” which means that they live in, on, or near the bottom of bodies of water.

Some examples of benthic macroinvertebrates include immature stages of invertebrates like flies, mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, dragonflies, snails, leeches, aquatic worms, and both immature and adult beetles.

How We Use Benthic Macroinvertebrates in Bioassessments

Benthic macroinvertebrates, specifically aquatic insects, represent a vital group of organisms frequently used in biological monitoring programs. Macroinvertebrates in the same system can have been residents for a few months to several years, depending on their particular lifespan.

Therefore, macroinvertebrate communities often reside in aquatic systems long enough for us to see the chronic effects of various pollutants. In addition, they live short enough lives that we can also see their responses to acute changes in the water quality.

Unlike the fish population, these organisms are mostly immobile, which means they are almost constantly exposed to various constituents of the water they inhabit. Due to their inability to get out of adverse conditions and limited mobility, benthic macroinvertebrates can help pinpoint the location of pollution sources. We do this by comparing the different communities of the organisms in a body of water.

How Does It Work?

Benthic macroinvertebrates exhibit different responses to changes in water quality, chemistry, and their physical habitat. Each of these responses produces measurable shifts in composition and abundance at the community level—and it’s often predictable.

Individually, we can use macroinvertebrates to find sublethal effects, like mouthpart deformities in aquatic fly larvae. Specifically, we use chironomids and benthic macroinvertebrates as bioindicators for different stressors in an aquatic ecosystem. Invertebrate deformities often get used as ecotoxicological endpoints in determining environmental issues.

Related: The Benefits of Drone Mapping & Land Surveying

A scuba diver taking a water sample.
A scuba diver taking a water sample.

The Sampling of Benthic Macroinvertebrates

Many environmental monitoring programs look at biological indicators in addition to physical and chemical tests.

Due to their sensitivity to various degrees of water pollution, the shifts in macroinvertebrate communities can help us identify two things:

  1. The impact of the specific pollution, and
  2. The effectiveness of any pollution control activities in effect.

And, per the Clean Water Act, states must report waters that don’t support their designated uses. We use biological surveys to examine the aquatic communities and find any stressors affecting them. Therefore, we can determine whether a body of water’s designated aquatic life uses are being supported.

Over time, we can study macroinvertebrates to identify water quality trends as a particular site over years or even decades.

By surveying aquatic insect communities, we can also identify causes of concern within rivers and streams. Those communities can reflect the presence of certain conditions that other measurements can miss.

Using habitat assessments along with aquatic surveys allows us to determine whether shifts in the macroinvertebrate communities are caused by habitat limitations, like siltation and bank erosion.

When evaluating catastrophic environmental events, we can track the various acute and chronic effects of an ecosystem’s recovery over time.

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Surveys As a Part of Other Studies

In addition to the use cases listed above, benthic macroinvertebrate bioassessments are a critical part of other studies to comply with requirements within:

  • Aquatic Resource Permitting;
  • Threatened and endangered habitat surveys;
  • Watershed inventories;
  • TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Studies;
  • Environmental management;
  • Environmental incident management;
  • Hydrologic determination;
  • NARS;
  • Stream monitoring;
  • NRDA (Natural Resource Damage Assessment);
  • NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System);
  • Satisfy US EPA requirements as part of RCRA or CERCLA;
  • Site inventory;
  • Construction, development, and
  • Wetlands – emergency permitting, restoration, HHEI

Need Help With Your Environmental Project?

At HANA Resources, our experts can provide a variety of biological resource services, including benthic macroinvertebrate bioassessments. Our range of services includes biological resource surveys, wetland restoration, pre- and post-construction surveys, construction monitoring, and more for projects in the western US.

Whether you need monitoring or surveying for biological resources, migratory or nesting birds, threatened or endangered species, ecological evaluations, or help to identify environmentally sensitive areas, we can help. Our experts have the expertise required to ensure all of the resources are protected per the approved environmental documents.

Our Biological Studies, Monitoring, and Management team have extensive experience and expertise in the following areas:

  • Special-Status Species Permits and Surveys;
  • Botanical Services and Surveys;
  • Avoidance & Minimization Recommendations;
  • Bat Surveys;
  • Fisheries and Aquatic Assessments;
  • Preconstruction Surveys;
  • Benthic Macroinvertebrate Bioassessments;
  • Environmental Permitting;
  • Habitat Restoration;
  • Mitigation;
  • Construction Monitoring;
  • Documentation & Reporting;
  • CEQA/NEPA Analysis;
  • Incidental Take Permit / MSHCP Compliance;
  • Wildlife Recovery & Relocation;
  • California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM);
  • Wetland Assessment and Delineation;
  • Marine Sciences, and
  • Water Resources

Related: Learn More About Our Biological Resource Services

Sun shining through tree branches and leaves.
Sun shining through tree branches and leaves.

Choose HANA Resources for Your Benthic Macroinvertebrate Bioassessments and Other Environmental Projects

Our team has been applying innovation and initiative to natural resource management since 1995 as a premier environmental consulting firm.

We’re WOSB, SB-PW, WBE, and Federal SBE certified and work continuously to simplify the environmental industry.

Using cutting-edge technology, we aim to produce for our clients an objective, reproducible, and process-driven methodology. We remove all of the subjective components to provide proven data supported by transparency, science, and standards.

View our projects and see how we’re changing the environmental industry. Or learn more about how to ensure the success of your environmental projects with our free resources. And, as always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions about our services!

Types of Remote Sensing: Which is Better for Your Environmental Project?

Remote sensing, which consists of examining an area from a significant distance, is used to gather imaging and information remotely. This practice consists of using tools like drones to create topographic maps, detect algae, assess plant health, and more. There are various types of remote sensing that can be useful in environmental projects, which we’ll talk about in this article.

Related: Biological Resources for Your Environmental Project

Common Types of Remote Sensing

While there are various types of remote sensing, each one is differently suited for analysis. While some methods are optimal for close scanning, some offer more advantages from greater distances. One of the most used types of remote sensing for environmental projects is radar imaging.

Radar Imaging

You can use radar imaging for critical safety-related remote sensing tasks. Weather detection and air traffic control are two essential uses for this type of remote sensing. Analysts use radar imaging to detect adverse weather, see how storms are progressing, and collect meteorological data. Law enforcement agencies also use Doppler radar to monitor driving speeds and traffic. Other types of radar imaging can be used to create models of elevation.


Lasers are another common type of remote sensing. Laser altimeters placed on satellites can measure things like the direction of ocean currents and wind speed. They are also useful for mapping the seafloor, as altimeters are capable of measuring the bulges of water caused by seafloor topography and gravity. You can create accurate seafloor maps by measuring and analyzing the variances in ocean heights.

LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, is a specific form of laser remote sensing. It’s a method that measures distances by using light reflection, and it can also measure the height of objects on the ground and the number of chemicals in the atmosphere.

Other Types of Remote Sensing

While radar imaging and laser altimeters are the most common types of remote sensing you’ll see, there are a variety of other methods. Those methods include using multiple air photos to create stereographic pairs, which are often used to create topographic maps and view features in 3D. Photometers and radiometers can collect the emitted radiation from infrared photos. Finally, using satellites to obtain air photo data, like with the Landsat program, is another type of remote sensing that can be useful, depending on your project.

Remote Sensing Applications

There are many uses for remote sensing, but it’s a field of study mainly used for image interpretation and processing. Interpreting images that were obtained through remote sensing allows you to closely study an area without needing anyone to be physically present, which makes researching unreachable or potentially dangerous areas possible. And image processing allows you to manipulate photos to create maps and save important information about an area.

Related: Cultural Resources for Your Environmental Project

Remote sensing is a continually-developing sciency, and you can apply it to various fields, including:

Geology—Using remote sensing, you can map large remote areas. It makes it possible for a geologist to classify the rock types of an area, study its geomorphology, and track any changes caused by natural events.

Agriculture—You can also use remote sensing to study vegetation. It allows ecologists, biogeographers, foresters, and agriculturists to take photographs remotely to determine what vegetation is present, its growth potential, and the optimal conditions for survival.

Land-Use Planning—Remote sensing can help regulate land usage over broad expanses for those studying land development. This data is typically used for general modification of the environment and city planning.

Geographic Information System Mapping (GIS)—You can also use remote sensing as the input data from digital elevation models (DEMs). You can digitize air photos created through GIS into polygons for later use as shapefiles in the map-making process.

Because of remote sensing’s varied applications and its ability to easily allow people to collect, manipulate, and interpret data from otherwise inaccessible locations, it’s become a useful tool for researchers in a wide range of concentrations.

Enterprise Solutions for Your Environmental Project

At HANA Resources, we’ve been providing remote sensing services as a multidisciplinary environmental consulting firm since 1995. We take a data-driven approach to environmental consulting with our experience, initiative, scientific expertise, and technological innovation to natural resource management.

With cutting-edge technology like the best software, cameras, and drones, we help our clients develop and implement the best approaches to successfully complete their environmental projects.

We serve a wide range of clientele, including government, private, and tribal agencies for projects dealing with transportation, electric utilities, oil & gas, and commercial, industrial, and government market sectors.

Our Remote Sensing Services Perfect for Your Environmental Projects

Our approach focuses on using reproducible methodologies to create a strategic approach driven by your project’s unique needs.

At HANA Resources, we use remote sensing and GIS technologies to provide innovative custom solutions for your environmental projects. Our team of specialists can perform spatial analysis for assessing plant health, create environmental site plans, and disseminate information from web applications.

We’re experienced in using the ESRI suite of GIS, GPS, Autodesk AutoCAD, and geomatics applications. Our cutting-edge technology and equipment allow fast processing, customized workflows, and high-resolution imaging. In addition, we ground-truth the resulting data to ensure validation and accuracy. At HANA Resources, we’re committed to pushing the boundaries of existing remote sensing methods and staying up-to-date with the latest tech in the field.

Related: View Our Environmental Projects

Some of our specialty remote sensing services include:

  • Algae Detection
  • Plant species recognition
  • Plant health assessments
  • 3D photogrammetry
  • Aerial mapping
  • Dense point clouds
  • Contour mapping
  • Thermal imaging
  • Progress monitoring

We also provide the following remote sensing and GIS cartography services:

  • Spatial statistics
  • Impact analysis
  • GPS data collection and warehousing
  • Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)
  • Aerial imaging and 3D mapping
  • LIDAR data analysis and modeling
  • Topographic analysis
  • Habitat suitability modeling
  • Interactive web-applications
  • Watershed analysis
  • Site mapping/ resource mapping
  • Data capture and management

Learn more about all of our remote sensing services on our website!

With advanced technology, we pride ourselves on producing objective, process-driven, and reproducible methodologies to ensure the success of your environmental projects.

Reach out to our remote sensing specialists at HANA resources and see how we’re changing the environmental industry.

Drone Land Surveying & Mapping: Here Are the Advantages

What most people think of as a cool toy has quickly found practical uses in industries like real estate, construction, and insurance. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones outfitted with high-definition video cameras can provide a line of sight that is otherwise unobtainable to the human eye.

For example, drones provide a complete picture of a landscape or building in progress in construction. The aerial cameras are a perfect tool to efficiently and cost-effectively survey difficult traverse areas. And when these “eyes in the sky” are paired with other technologies like mapping software, we can effectively automate otherwise difficult surveying tasks.

Related: Water Management and Plant Health Using UAV Flights

When Drones Work Best

Every project is unique. And while drones may not be necessary for surveying and mapping every project, there are times when they provide a clear advantage. For example, when safety is a concern due to rough terrain, extreme heights, or other factors, a drone easily captures the data needed while keeping everyone safe. An experienced pilot can fly these UAVs manually using a remote control or autonomously using a predetermined flight path.

Drones are also a good choice for providing highly detailed survey data. These machines can often fly well at low altitudes to gather high-resolution data comparable to traditional but much more time-consuming surveying methods. Drones are commonly employed during project planning and to record progress updates.

While drones augment traditional survey methods, they will not likely replace the need for human surveyors. The point of utilizing drones in surveying is to provide more detail and a complete picture.

Key Benefits of Using Drones for Surveying & Land Mapping

Drone technology can provide a minimally-invasive way to save time and reduce costs during project planning. They provide a cost-effective technology tool that has several advantages, including:

  • Decreased field time to survey large sites.
  • Ability to conduct land mapping and surveys without disrupting other activities.
  • Less manpower is required to achieve higher outputs.
  • Improved accuracy and completeness in data.
  • Precision measurements.
  • Ease of mapping inaccessible areas.

Traditional survey methods could take weeks of collecting and compiling sometimes inaccurate and often incomplete data on larger sites. Drones not only reduce the manpower needed to cover the same amount of land, but they are excellent at collecting detailed data and precision measurements, so the quality of data collected by a drone is often better than what is collected by an entire team of surveyors. It can be up to five times faster to map typography using drones over traditional methods.

Traditional surveying or land-mapping techniques are also largely disruptive. Traffic doesn’t have to be re-routed for a team of surveyors to complete a job site when a machine is capturing an overhead view. Overall, drones are less disruptive and less expensive in labor and operating costs.

Related: Plant Health Analysis Using NDVI

HANA Resources is an innovative leader in environmental technology. We utilize various methods to collect precise data about typography, elevation, heights, distances, size, and much more. Learn more about our drone services today.

Common Uses for UAVs in Land Surveying & Mapping

You may be wondering, who uses drones for land surveys and mapping? There are several opportunities where drones can be useful. Cartographers use drones to efficiently create accurate maps.

Government or private entities involved in land management and development use drone surveys in the planning stages of development projects. Mining operations and quarries rely on drones to monitor inventory and production.

Environmental engineers use drones to monitor slopes and accurately predict landslides and other catastrophic events. And city planners routinely use drone surveys to examine current conditions and plan for future growth.

HANA Resources Uses Drones to Provide Real-Time Data in High-Definition

HANA Resources is committed to blending science, technology, and innovation to change the environmental industry through various touchpoints. One of the most significant services that we offer is drone surveying for various customers who need to collect environmental data on impossibly large or challenging traverse sites.

HANA Resources can provide services like:

  • Ultra-high-resolution imagery to analyze heights, distances, and sizes.
  • Aerial mapping of difficult terrain.
  • Algae detection in large lakes.
  • Terrain modeling and elevation mapping.
  • Highly efficient 3D contour mapping.
  • Thermal and radiometric data collection to identify plant species.
  • Plant health monitoring for vegetation management.
  • Thermal imaging for wildlife habits, irrigation systems, and more.
  • Progress monitoring for construction sites.

Related: Petroleum Refinery Development: Creative Uses of Technology 

We’re proud to be a leader in environmental technology. As an environmental consulting firm, they serve client needs strategically using proven scientific methodologies with reproducible results. Providing drone services that include land surveying and mapping using various technologies, HANA Resources helps clients understand existing conditions so that they can adequately plan for their futures.

Our team at HANA Resources believes in providing quality data using effective technologies like drones that are adept at recording precise data that can improve daily decision-making, leading to better outcomes in business, urban development, environmental planning, and more.

The Bottom Line

Drones have become an indispensable trade tool for land surveying and mapping. While they will never entirely replace the need for the human brain in surveying and planning, they can provide a perspective through high-resolution imagery and precise measurements that are otherwise unobtainable. And the efficiency at which these machines can collect data will save money, reduce labor, and speed up deliverables on all kinds of projects.

HANA Resources is already utilizing drone technology to provide dozens of services that help planners, engineers, landowners, and developers make data-driven decisions with precision. We’re excited to see where the future of drone technology takes us.

As an innovative leader in the environmental industry, we’re always looking for ways to improve our data collection methods for the services that we provide to our customers. Learn more about HANA Resources drone services today.