"Dolphin Counting" – Police Aircraft in Unusual Mission

The constant growth of Airborne Technologies forms the basis for opening up new markets. Their recent project shows the variety of application possibilities of modern surveillance equipment. The objective of the job was to explore the dolphin population in the Black Sea.

The project was issued by the Bulgarian Executive Environment Agency in order to provide scientific data in the sense of conservation. The full project`s name is Filed observations of cetaceans Tursiops Truncatus, Phocoena Phocoena and Delphinus Delphis in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Bulgaria. The public procurement contract was awarded to Consortium Black Sea Research Programme NOAH.

The project area of about 35.000 km was divided into segments and flown over by Airborne Technologies` police demonstrator a Vulcanair P68 R, equipped with a Wescam MX10 gimbal in combination with a Churchill Augmented Reality System.

This police surveillance configuration was perfectly suited for this project as the IR-Sensor was extremely helpful for the detection of the dolphins as well as the HD-Sensor for documentation purposes. The recording and geo-referenced documentation of the sighted dolphin groups was effected by the Churchill Augmented Reality System and allows subsequent counting and/or identification. Due to the used high definition optics even the identification of various species was possible.

In order to balance the seasonally caused changes in the dolphins behaviour, flights will be carried out 4 times a year at regular intervals.

Mr. Karastoyanov , Head of the Consortium implementing the project, said, Airborne Technologies has proven its ability to think inter-divisionally and has raised animal counting to a new level.