Our selected case studies show the expertise of our team and examples of projects we have and can support you with.
New technologies for monitoring livestock behaviour
This project is a collaboration between Aberystwyth University, the RSPB and the Elan Valley Trust. A combination of new and existing monitoring methods using fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s; drones) as sensor platforms are being developed to track the movements of livestock animals on large-scale (~100ha) hill enclosures, quantify and map the vegetation present, and identify key features which might influence animal behaviour (e.g. water bodies, pathways etc). The understanding of how these different species interact with the landscape around them will then be used to develop interventions which target their grazing on specific areas (e.g. Molinia/ Purple moorgrass on peatlands).
A key objective of this project is to utilise low cost equipment which is easy to use, so these techniques may be utilised by others. This has included the deployment of fully customised GPS loggers, and the validation of the first custom built system of animal tracking that uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and a UAV receiver.
These tags, which are placed on either the horns or ears of the animals are a low cost (~£11), low maintenance, alternative to GPS collars that work by transmitting individually recognisable radio signals to a UAV receiver, which triangulates each individual tag’s position using its on-board GPS. If proven successful, the flight range of UAVs together with the low cost of the tags could allow large numbers of livestock (100s) to be monitored on over large (150-200 ha) areas.
Modelling Site Suitability of an Invasive Species - Impatiens glandulifera
The risk of invasion from alien species is increasing with globalisation and climate change. The main impacts from plant invasions include alterations to soil chemistry, hydrology and fire regime, biodiversity loss, costly management schemes and infrastructure damage.
Therefore, effective eradication schemes for invasive species are required. Despite this, determining locations to target schemes is challenged by a lack of knowledge in the species establishment extent.
To address this an online database and Maximum Entropy modelling technique was used to derive potential species establishment within Wales. Occurrence data from the National Biodiversity Network Atlas and environmental data were inputted within a species-tuned Maximum Entropy model.
The model highlighted flood areas to be the most suitable growing environment for Impatiens glandulifera whilst areas within the Cambrian Mountains, exceeding elevations of 300m, contain sites with the least suitability.
Recommended eradication method is for volunteer groups to manually hand pull, hoe, or strim catchment areas starting from the source of watercourses highlighted as high priority in the model. This should be annually, preferably after flood events and before plants develop seed in August.
Using Spectral Heterogeneity to predict Species Diversity and Historic Fertiliser Application - Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
Welsh Water wish to address the issue of diffuse pollution from agricultural fertilisers, with a company objective of increasing the water ingress quality in supply areas. To monitor and collect soil data on an area this size via field excursions would be impractical. Therefore, a method including the use of drone imagery and the creation of a methodology which utilises plant biodiversity as an intermediate latent variable to provide spatial data on nutrient (especially Nitrate) accumulation in farmed pastures are proposed. In this feasibility study Treberfydd Farms and, Newton Farm, Wales, was selected as the study site, with the intention of providing a proof of concept for the use of spectral heterogeneity as a proxy for the detection of excess nutrients on farmed grassland.
Outputs from the study revealed congruence between pixel heterogeneity recovered from remote sensing imagery and plant species biodiversity recorded in the field. The work therefore demonstrates the potential feasibility of using pixel heterogeneity methods to monitor the spatial location of nutrient over-application or accumulation (via run-off/leaching) within a farm environment. Future projects should seek to calibrate spatial resolution of the approach and to characterise the relationship over a wider range of landscape terrains and management regimes.
“The GEOM Team at Aberystwyth University provided Welsh Water and its partners with a methodology to calculate species diversity within a field from drone imagery. The overarching theory is that an increased application of fertilisers is associated with a decline in species diversity. Thanks to the thorough research carried out by the GEOM Team, Welsh Water has the tools to look at taking this one step further to identify intensively farmed areas at a catchment scale and work with farmers to tailor the application of nutrients to minimise diffuse pollution.” – Shaun Lewis, Spatial Risk Analyst – Catchment Team for Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water.
A low-cost data transfer system to facilitate sensors on livestock farms
To this date, considerable academic research has gone into the development of sensors for use on sheep and cattle. However, with regard to their application on farms they have been limited. Sensor cost, technically difficult user interfaces, and issues with data transfer from remote locations on the farm to a centralised server have made many sensors unappealing for adoption into general farming practices.
In collaboration with Caerphilly council, IBERS and the Computer Science Department at Aberystwyth University are in the process of creating a data transfer system which can successfully relay data from animal, and fixed based sensors from field to a central server stored on farm. The objective being to produce a working example of this system complete with sensors, receivers and integration mounts. Emphasis is placed on deriving as lower cost components as possible for the hardware, and that the system be autonomous in nature.
In doing this, we can create a universal platform to which different types of senses can operate on seamlessly, and thereby allow flexibility in the choice of the sensors that individual farmers wish to adopt without needing to alter the main infrastructure. Furthermore, by developing such a system, we can reduce some of the functional requirements of the sensors (e.g. omitting the need for large stable storage capacity on each unit), thereby lowering the cost of the sensors.
A Tourist Guide to Nambour’s Past and Present
As part of sharing the rural responses to globalisation, Global-Rural project designed and created a web based “walking” guide re-enacting the making and remaking Nambour, in rural Australia through raw cane sugar.
The content based on archival research and primary field work was translated to provide users with linear, place-based narrative featuring multimedia – videos, audios, interactive and static maps, images, photos etc. Each geo located place is accompanied by a narrative highlighting events about the location on the town’s struggles through the cane sugar industry. The narrative guide also includes places of interest, heritage sites and attractions.
For example, locations and videos of the last sugar crush, last burn down of cane plantation at Moreton mill, audio interviews with residents and former workers, videography etc. The guide can be followed sequentially through each story point, browsed interactively through the map or through the thumbnail carousel. For example, the survival of Nambour after the closures through conversion of its sugar trams, rail lines, plantations, staff accommodations to real estates, shopping malls, tourist attractions can be searched with key words.
The platform is created to serve as a tour guide while in Nambour. It is also a remotely accessible virtual tour based on a web browser and designed to be downloadable as a print or work on mobile devices. Features can also be reconstructed as 3D experiences.
What We Do
GEOM’s goal is to support companies and organisations with state-of-the-art spatial intelligence towards developing market-ready products and services
10 to 250 employees
Turnover less €50M
SMEs in West Wales and Valleys
Any Partner Organisation
Environment and Conservation
Tourism and Cultural Heritage
Utilities and Infrastructure
Transport and Logistics
Type of Support
Spatial Data Analytics