Using advanced geo-referenced vertical photography and high tech mapping, CAVU will document the health of critical ecosystems in North and Central America.
San Jose, Costa Rica – CAVU (Calm Air Visibility Unlimited), a US Public Charity dedicated to helping save critical ecosystems, has acquired a new aircraft, the latest model Cessna 206 (Turbo 206H) and has recently completed a number of special, mission-specific modifications, including a SkyIMD SkyDSLR camera mounting system and specialized geo-referencing equipment from Red Hen Systems Inc.
“Purchasing this aircraft is a huge step for CAVU. With the ability to measure high elevation glacial recession in the Andes, and also land on unimproved strips in the rainforest, this aircraft enables us to work anywhere, documenting many areas that are unreachable by land. We can provide aerial surveys of wildlife and waterbirds, data acquisition to survey land use, canopy and forest coverage assessment, and detection of runoff and effluent from aquaculture, as well as visualization flights to educate government officials, land managers and media about the issues at hand.” said CAVU President and Founder David Smith.
In the past, CAVU relied heavily on volunteer pilot aircraft for its missions across Central America. The newly acquired, six seat 206 provides a comfortable platform and opens the door for more people – conservation scientists, government officials and journalists – to experience CAVU’s work first hand from the air.
In addition to the 206’s flight capabilities is the aircraft’s custom designed camera pod. CAVU’s Executive Director Michele Gangaware explains, “The FAA approved SkyIMD camera housing, which mounts onto the wing strut of the plane, allows for geo-referenced vertical photography producing high-resolution images of fine details on the ground below. Complimented by equipment from Red Hen Systems, this aerial conservation photography technology will allow high tech mapping and documentation of the health of critical ecosystems.”
The new aircraft and state of the art technology was first used by SINAC (The System of Protected Areas), and Forever Costa Rica, a non-profit conservation organization, to identify and monitor an invasive species of cattail in Palo Verde National Park in the Guanacaste region. CAVU is also partnering with Conservation International on a sustainable fisheries health assessment in the Gulf of Nicoya. In Panama, CAVU will be working on a bi-national project, in partnership with the National Environmental Authority (ANAM), the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment (MINAE), to survey mangrove and reef habitats along the Caribbean coast.
Founded in 2004, CAVU is a US public charity dedicated to helping solve complex problems related to the management and conservation of natural resources. Using advanced technology and an aerial platform, CAVU captures, analyzes, and shares data to inform better conservation management decisions. CAVU believes that when people are informed and engaged, healthy societies and renewable natural resources thrive. For more information, please visit www.cavu.org/.