Light pollution and how to monitor it through the use of drones
Light pollution is one of the matters that negatively affects our environment. Nowadays, this problem is not perceived as easily as others, but it keeps affecting our health, environment and even some professions, being astronomical observations the most affected.
Astronomers were the first ones to point out this issue, but night imagery taken to our planet from the space, where the illumination of urban areas can be easily appreciated, made population to have greater awareness regarding to light pollution. Some biological studies remark that it is affecting to biodiversity and plants growth, migratory birds, insects and many other elements of our environment.
On people, light pollution affects to our circadian rhythm, our “biological clock”, which is the responsible to regulate the physiologic functions of our organism. Regarding to economical cost and energy consumption, some studies estimated that street lighting raised up to 830 million euros in Spain during 2014, an expenditure that could have been reduced up to a 50% if the same street lighting was more efficient.
Drones for light pollution monitoring
To optimize energy consumption and to control light pollution, an index can be calculated creating maps and cartographic products through night mapping using drones. With that information, it is possible to redesign streetlights in cities, decreasing wasted light projected to the sky and adjusting light levels to the strictly necessary.
Currently, there are low weight electronic components already in the market, such as photoelectric sensors used by cars, which can be installed in drones to control and monitor light pollution. These drones allow to quickly gather light level data from the area to check, creating thermal maps to determine the most affected areas.
In order to make any drone able to measure light pollution levels of a specific area, it is only necessary to mount the said sensors and Veronte Autopilot in the unmanned vehicle. Besides, NM& drones are already equipped with Veronte Autopilot, permitting to operate immediately in order to gather light information efficiently.