Project metadata and data (after two years) are available through HydroShare.

Related Imagery Location and Date Project Description

Red Canyon Creek, Wyoming

July 2021

UAS beaver dam analog

PI: Krista Kelleher (Syracuse University)

For the fourth year CTEMPs has provided multispectral, thermal, and RGB UAS data sets in support of Dr. Krista Kelleher’s beaver dam analog research.  The UAS data helps to reveal how the construction of fake beaver dams impact vegetation greenness, groundwater-surface water interactions, and stream deposition and erosion.

Perry Canyon, NV

June 2021

Hyperspectral VNIR - SWIR UAS

PI: Scott McCoy (UNR)

We are exploring the use of Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPASs) carrying hyperspectral and LiDAR payloads as a viable remote sensing platform to map the spatial and temporal changes of PAGM across a mine waste rock pile on an AML. We want to compare the skill of unsupervised classification algorithms to map PAGM on hyperspectral imagery with very high spatial resolution, as compared to that achieved with more common five-band multispectral imagery with much lower spectral resolution. We also hope to test our ability to identify actual mineral species in airborne hyperspectral imagery that have been identified in ground-based and lab-based spectral surveys.

Cuprite, NV

June 2021

Hyperspectral VNIR - SWIR UAS


CTEMPs provided logistical and field support during 4 days of UAS VNIR-SWIR hyperspectral data acquisition at Cuprite, NV.  This effort was in support of Dr. Isabel Barton’s (University of Arizona) research into mine-scale hyperspectral mapping of clays and other minerals deleterious to mineral processing. Research was carried out by CTEMPs, UA Geosciences and Mining & Geological Engineering, and Headwall Photonics personnel.

  June 2021

Multispectral sage grouse habitat characterization

PI: Robert Washington-Allen (UNR)

December 2020

UAV magnetics surveying

PI: Jim Faulds (Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology)

October 2020

Acid Mine Drainage

PI: Scott McCoy (UNR)

August 2020

Snoqualmie River Thermal Mapping 

PI: Dan Resitvo (USGS)

CTEMPs acquired UAS thermal imagery to map water surface temperatures and longitudinal water temperature profiles, and the results interpreted to describe the spatiotemporal variability of water temperatures in the study area.

January 2020

Baseline data for riparian restoration on the Mojave River

PI: Susan Mortenson (SWCA)

Virginia City, Nevada

Summer 2019

UAS magnetics surveying in Virginia City, Nevada.

A GEM GSMP-35U Dronemag was generously donated to CTEMPs in May 2019 by Mr. Hugh Roy Marshall. CTEMPs conducted testing and data acquisition over the summer and plan to expand the survey and possibly re-acquire at lower flight altitudes in the coming months.

Sage Hen Creek, Truckee, CA


Variations in Conifer Tree Surface Temperature across a Hydrologic Gradient in Sagehen Creek Watershed, Sierra Nevada, USA

Authors: H. Safa, S. Tyler, G. Sterle, S. Krogh, and A. Harpold

Forest canopy temperature provides information about longwave radiation and sensible energy exchange, and has applications for understanding forest water content and tree water use. sUAS are used at Sage Hen Creek, Truckee, CA to acquire thermal imagery to explore hillslope-scale variation in canopy temperature across a gradient of a wet meadow to a dry hillslope. Overall, our results show that canopy temperature varies systematically with air temperature in shaded, but that spatiotemporal deviations between the two may hold information about tree water use and water stress.

 Digital elevation model (left) and RGB image (right) of Perry Canyon study site

Perry Canyon, NV

October 2017 - 2020

Environmental Characterization and Remediation of Abandoned Mine Lands

In support of Dr. Ron Breitmeyer (UNR) AirCTEMPs is providing time-series UAS data leading to high-resolution digital elevation models (left, 1 cm/pixel and better than 4 cm vertical accuracy) that are expected to quantify geomorphic changes to mine waste dumps and the adjacent drainage channel.  Hyperspectral imagery are also being acquired and analyzed to yield acidic rock-soil index maps.  The project will be completed by the summer of 2020.

Stitched visual RGB imagery (left) and NDVI (right) within Micasense Atlas web portal.  Red indicates low NDVI (~0) and dark blue represent higher NDVI.

Red Canyon Creek, Wyoming

August, 2017; 2018; 2019

In collaboration with Christa Kelleher (Syracuse University) and Julianne Davis (Syracuse University), AirCTEMPs is examining the impacts of beaver dam analogues (fake beaver dams) on deposition and erosion, vegetation greenness, and groundwater-surface water interactions. Ongoing data collection of stitched visual RGB imagery (left) and NDVI (right) is helping to reveal how these restoration structures impact the exchange of sediment, energy, and water across this landscape.  Annual imagery collection (since 2017) will continue to benchmark how Red Canyon Creek and the surrounding floodplain are transformed by beaver dam analogue structures. Stitched visual RGB imagery (left) and NDVI (right) within Micasense Atlas web portal.  Red indicates low NDVI (~0) and dark blue represent higher NDVI.

Illinois IML-CZO

May 2018

Field trials to detect drainage pipe networks using thermal and RGB data from unmanned aircraft.

Both RGB and thermal UAS sensors were used in an attempt to detect drainage pipes underlying fallow
fields in the Illinois Intensively Managed Lands Critical Zone Observatory (IML- CZO). More details can
be found in Kratt et al. 2019.

 Stitched visual RGB imagery (left) and NDVI (right) within Micasense Atlas web portal.  Red indicates low NDVI (~0) and dark blue represent higher NDVI.

East River, CO

July 2017

In collaboration with Kenneth Williams (LBL), Dana Chadwick (Stanford), Benjamin  Blonder (University of Oxford), and Christopher Still (OSU), AirCTEMPs is examining multi- and hyper- spectral bands for vegetation classification. Stitched visual RGB imagery (left) and NDVI (right) within Micasense Atlas web portal.  Red indicates low NDVI (~0) and dark blue represent higher NDVI.

Verburg imagery

Main Station Field Lab, NV

June - Sept. 2017

June - Sept. 2018 

AirCTEMPs is assisting Dr. Paul Verburg (UNR) by remotely monitoring crop production approximately once a month using a Micasense RedEdge camera mounted on a small drone as part of a project assessing the use of alternative, salt-tolerant, crops to allow for use of saline soils while providing economic benefit. To meet this objective, Dr. Verburg and his team are conducting field trials at Main Station Field Lab, a property east of Reno/Sparks owned by the University of Nevada, Reno with multiple crops including Quinoa, Amaranth, and AC Saltlander Green wheatgrass. In addition to the remote monitoring, soil moisture, temperature, and salinity are being continuously monitored at 20 locations at the field site.

Medusahead imagery

Detection and Mapping of Invasive Medusahead, NV

May - July, 2017; 2019

In collaboration with Dr. Peter Weisberg and the Great Basin Landscape Ecology Lab (UNR), AirCTEMPs is investigating remote detection and discrimination of invasive medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) based upon phenological and structural differences at fine spatial scales.  AirCTEMPs flew nine multispectral UAS missions during May – July, 2017 over a study covered by native vegetation and patches of medusahead. Preliminary results revealed that medusahead can be remotely mapped based on phenological changes observed in time-series data. More than 100 hectares of high resolution UAS imagery were acquired in Paradise Valley, Nevada, across five sub-areas representing a mixture of native vegetation and medusahead. Data acquisition occurred in May, June and August, for a total of 300 hectares. The classification analysis will be completed by summer of 2020.

 Stitched visual RGB imagery (left) and digital elevation map (DEM, right).  The data shows sub-cm resolved DEM.

Intensively Managed Land CZO

May 2017

In collaboration with Thanos Papanicolaou (UT Knoxville), AirCTEMPs is examining microtopography from different farm tillage practices and subsequent hydrological processes. Stitched visual RGB imagery (left) and digital elevation map (DEM, right).  The data shows sub-cm resolved DEM.

 Stitched visual imagery overlaid in Google Earth Pro (left) and thermal imagery (right).  NA values were denoted as zero.  Warm areas correspond with tree and bare ground.

Sagehen, CA

April 2017

In collaboration with Jessica Lundquist (UWash) and Adrian Harpold (UNR), AirCTEMPs is examining multi-resolution thermal imagery (point to satellite) for snow coverage in Sagehen, CA. Stitched visual imagery overlaid in Google Earth Pro (left) and thermal imagery (right).  NA values were denoted as zero.  Warm areas correspond with tree and bare ground.

 Stitched visual imagery in Agisoft Photoscan (left) and thermal imagery (right).

Devils River, Texas

February 2017

In collaboration with Todd Caldwell at UT Austin, AirCTEMPs is examining groundwater-surface water lateral and vertical mixing using thermal signatures.  sUAS thermal imagery was coupled with (non-CTEMPS) DTS strung along the thalweg riverbed. Stitched visual imagery in Agisoft Photoscan (left) and thermal imagery (right).  Thermal imagery clearly indicates warm spring inlet.

 2 cm hillshadeOrthomosaic

Roseburg, OR

January 2017

In collaboration with Danica Roth at University of Oregon, AirCTEMPs measured topographic roughness (microtopography) on a recently burned hillslope in Roseburg. This data will be used to (1) compare different metrics for quantifying topographic roughness and (2) evaluate the impact of topographic roughness on particle travel distances during sediment transport.


Red-Green-Blue (left)  and Colorinfrared (right) View of Multispectral Data (10 cm)

Hyperspectral cube of data (25 cm) for the location denoted by black box on the following images

Brazillian Rainforest

October 2016

In collaboration with Ralf Bennartz and Trina Merrick at Vanderbilt University, AirCTEMPs captured hyperspectral imagery of the Brazilian Rainforest. The scientific objective was to estimate solar induced fluorescence for understanding how plant productivity relates to abundance of threatened and endangered species in the Pantanal region of Brazil. Images: red-green-blue (left) and colorinfrared (right) views of multispectral data (10 cm); hyperspectral cube (bottom) of data (25 cm) for the location denoted by black box on the top images

Shea Vineyards, OR

August 2016-2017

Vineyards face many challenges to productivity including those from viruses. AirCTEMPs is investigating the use of multispectral imagery to detect virus presence in vineyards before it is visible to the human eye. The goal of this research is to determine whether this approach will lead to greater expediency in identifying and isolating this threat. We have begun a series of multispectral flights in infected vineyards and will continue these throughout the growing season in 2017. Our aerial imagery will be analyzed in conjunction with ground samples of vines that are taken during the flight.


NDVI for East River, CO

Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory Colorado/CUAHSI

August 2016

AirCTEMPs participated in a Consortia of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences (CUAHSI) short course focused on groundwater/surface water interactions held on the East River near Crested Butte, CO in the summer of 2016.  Flying our Storm AntiGravity and Phantom 3, we developed a high resolution digital elevation model of the 400x300m field site. Near IR imagery was flown over the entire site and clearly showed areas of high vegetation density where expect to see groundwater exchange.  In the video, you can see the high resolution Electrical Resistance Tomography lines being put in across the stream, and also the injection of the Rasazurin tracer used to document aerobic respiration.  This week long short course hosted ~25 students and was taught by faculty from the Colorado School of Mines, the University of Colorado, University of New Mexico, University of Nevada, Reno and the U.S. Geological Survey. 


Climate change impacts on tree growth patterns

May 2016-2017

In collaboration with another NSF-funded team, Kristen Waring at NAU that is investigating climate change impacts, Chris Still and AirCTEMPs collected thermal and five-band imagery over tree seedling plots in Arizona and Oregon. These measurements are being analyzed in coordination with extensive ground samples of tree canopy features. This project will continue over a five-year period to investigate local and regional impacts of climate change on coniferous forests.


Brady Hot Springs

March 2016

In collaboration with Kurt Fiegl of UW-Madison, AirCTEMPS conducted a pilot study to examine the feasibility of assessing fine-scale (cm level) elevation change between two dates 14 days apart at a geothermal site near Brady Hot Springs. The AirCTEMPS crew surveyed 700 sq meters at an 8 mm ground sampling distance using photogrammetry and 16 ground control points. Photogrammetry data was collected using a gimbal stabilized Sony A5100 camera with a 20 mm fixed focal length lens onboard a customized Tarot 650 quadcopter. All image processing of photogrammetric data was conducted using Agisoft Photoscan.   

Eg River, Mongolia

September 2015

Taiman Foundation in Mongolia supported UNR AirCTEMPs' first deployment: testing of aircraft for conducting fish surveys.  While using low-cost video imaging, fish counts of the world’s largest trout, the Taiman, were shown to be possible from sUAS on the Eg River in northern Mongolia. Using a search and rescue pattern, Taiman were identified in video imagery, and sized using on-shore reference scales.

UAV flying


Flying fiber


September 2014

In collaboration with Heather Holms from University of Nevada-Reno, and Michael Wing from Oregon State University, we set up a tower with 4 IRGASONS.  Then we proceeded to suspend a Distributed temperature sensing (DTS) fiber optic cable from a UAS to measure a detailed temperature profile in front and behind a wind turbine.  These data will help unravel existing mysteries about stable atmospheric boundary layer dynamics, and tease out the possible impact of wind turbines on the local micrometeorology.

Project website