Cary Institute Aerial Infrared Deer Survey - January 2020

2020-02-27T21:36:06Z (GMT) by Michael Fargione
An aerial infrared imaging flight was performed at the Cary Institute of Ecological Studies property by Davis Aviation to estimate the minimum number of deer present on the property. This data is useful for management of the Cary deer herd. Flights were conducted on the nights of 30 and 31 January 2020.

Imaging was accomplished with a single-engine Cessna 182 airplane and using a high-resolution Mitsubishi M-600 thermal imager oriented ‘looking’ straight down through a camera hole in the belly of the airplane. The thermal imager NTSC video output was routed through a video encoder-decoder (VED) that labeled the imagery with a continuous stream of GPS-derived position, time, date, speed and altitude information.

After the flight, imagery was analyzed using a TV monitor and a computer monitor. As the imagery played, the VED decoded the bar-coded GPS signal that was received from the GPS during the flight. The VED recreated the original GPS signal and sent it to the computer so the mobile mapping software ‘thinks’ it is receiving a live signal. The mapping software shows the moving position of the airplane superimposed over aerial imagery of the count area on the computer screen while the recorded infrared imagery of the area below the airplane is visible on the TV monitor. The GPS updates the airplane position once per second throughout the flight and at the same rate during the post-flight analysis.

The entire recorded imagery has been reviewed and individual deer identified and marked on the map.

Contact the author for data files.

Description of files:

Cary deer count report 30-31 Jan 2020.pdf

Report describing methods and results of January 30,31 2020 aerial infrared flight of Cary property



PDF of ArcGIS map of Cary property features overlaid with deer and turkey locations



PDF of ArcGIS map of Cary property features including airphotos overlaid with deer and turkey locations


Cary deer points 30_31 Jan20.kml

File containing deer and turkey locations from aerial infrared flight in Google Earth-readable format that was used to create ArcGIS shapefiles

Keyhole Marking Language (KML)