Public Lab Research note

Barataria Unit Tarpaper Canal (NW) Monitoring [18 Dec 2013]

by mseibert | December 20, 2013 00:28 | 2,353 views | 4 comments | #9909 | 2,353 views | 4 comments | #9909 20 Dec 00:28

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What I want to do

Document change over time in the restoration work of an oil/gas canal in Jean Lafitte National Park. The canal had its spoil banks back filled in attempt to promote increased marsh vegetation and aquatic habitat.

My attempt and results

Inflated red weather balloon with gasket, used a point and click camera with capture button taped down. Using a fish scale the balloon was lifting .665kg and the rig measured .44kg. Also employed a RC controlled picavet carriage so as to have increased ability in camera direction for both oblique and plan-view imagery. Launched the balloon over canal from air boat (provided by park personnel). Flew out, reeled in, let out 3 times and reached a significant height that might have resulted in losing contact with RC control. Not sure if RC got to 90 degrees as well as possible snagging in line by picavet carriage. Balloon was in air for approximately 30 minutes

2nd flight: AMOD active. Dragged the launched balloon and camera while air boat navigated canal, capturing a transect of canal imagery. RC worked entire time. Same weather as first flight but perhaps less wind. 300 - 330 at last running SE down canal at low air boat speed. ~300 --> 346 then pulled in.

Questions and next steps

balloon lost significant altitude at one point, not sure of the cause. dragging balloon behind boat was successful in the capturing of linear water bodies. will return to site to analyze change in environment and restoration project success.


Very cool - are you working with Scott Eustis? Nice photos! Is the AMOD the GPS?

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Yeah, this is Matthew Seibert from LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio, working on Dredgefest LA with me.

AMOD is the cheap GPS logger. unfortunately, it ran out of memory during this flight.

We did have success in using the fish scale to measure how much helium needed to go into the balloon, though.

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mapknitter link

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