Day 2 in Costa Rica and we flew five flights and collected amazing imagery over a traditional coffee farm. The first 3 flights at restoration forest sites went off without a hitch and we continued with auto take-off and landing at each site, with Dana providing some pitch and roll control at the end to help guide the copter back to the landing zone.
The trip to Roberto Jimenez's coffee farm was the real highlight of the day. Dana set up two flights to cover the entire farm with high resolution imagery from which we will generate a detailed photo ortho-mosaic for Roberto and his collaborators. Roberto and his family follow traditional practices to grow their coffee. In the photos it is possible to see a wide range of farming practices including the small pits and vegetated swales used for runoff control, and the mix of bananas and coffee plants in the same plots. One of Roberto's helpers was eager to get his own copter as well, and of course Dana stocked up on a fresh stock of Roberto's coffee before we left.
Mixed in with the farming plots are recently fallowed fields, pastures, houses, junkyards and forested areas: a true human landscape and anthropogenic ecosystem. Within the orthomosaic and 3D model that will be produced from the photos we collected today, it will be possible to see the incredible diversity of land uses within this roughly 8 hectare area. The property is bounded by a road at the top of the hill and a stream at the bottom. As I write this and look at the photos of the farm it is interesting to think about the ecosystem that Roberto has created. A drop of rain falling on the farm will more or less go where Roberto intends it to; plants thrive, perish, or are ignored largely based on his decisions. This can't be captured in a MODIS or Landsat pixel, and I am glad I have had the unique opportunity to capture a snapshot of Roberto Jimenez's ecosystem using Ecosynth techniques. I look forward to making a beautiful map of the imagery to send to Roberto and his wife.
Check out some of the awesome aerial photos we collected over the farm in the project's photo album and slideshow below.