Remote environmental monitoring techniques

Environmental monitoring in northern Australia is challenged by many resource and logistical constraints; including the large spatial scale, limited and variable site access (e.g. limited all weather road and infrastructure, wet season inaccessibility), environmental hazards to field-based studies (including crocodiles, cyclones and harsh climate) and relatively small population base and limitations on technical capability. These constraints often lead to restricted sampling designs, with limited sample sizes, reduced spatial coverage, and poor power to track environmental change particularly in time frames suitable for managers.

This project assessed the usefulness of new and emerging remote monitoring techniques for northern Australia, and prioritised future research needs.

This study brought together relevant experts and natural resource managers to explore and prioritise key research needs in the development and refinement of tools to improve environmental monitoring in remote areas. The project gathered information from desktop reviews about decision-making and policy requirements for northern Australia-specific monitoring. The research also explored the barriers and potential solutions to successful implementation in remote locations, including data storage, management and access systems.

A final report and wrap-up factsheet were produced, which include:

  • a summary of what we know about emerging technologies and techniques applicable to environmental monitoring in northern Australia;
  • identification of  the current use and potential future use of emerging technologies and techniques; 
  • discussion of the potential for their use, including positive attributes and limitations; and
  • identification of the research needed to more fully utilise these techniques.

This research covered the entire Northern Hub region.

northern region map

Alison King (Project Leader, CDU), Damien Burrows (JCU), Graeme Gillespie (NT DEPWS), Doug Ward (Griffith University), Jon Marshall (QLD Govt).

Alison King, Charles Darwin University
E: [email protected]

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  • Remotely operating a fixed wing drone. Credit: eriss
  • Minature boat monitors aspects of water quality. Credit: eriss
  • Motion detection cameras are being used for wildlife surveys across northern Australia
  • Fish sampling
  • Remotely operating a fixed wing drone. Credit: eriss
  • Minature boat monitors aspects of water quality. Credit: eriss
  • Fixed wing drone. Credit: eriss
  • Fixed wing drone. Credit: eriss
  • A feral pig is captured on a motion detection camera. Credit: Department of Land Resoruce Management
  • A motion detection camera aimed at a bait station