This Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ireland funded research project, involving a multi-national, multi-disciplinary research team that included researchers from the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC) of GMIT, assessed the potential of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones to monitor water quality in lakes in the west of Ireland.
Study sites included Ballyquirke lake near Moycullen, Co Galway. The project team are the first research team in Ireland and Europe to capture a 2 litre water sample using a drone, 100 m offshore. Water chemistry analysis of a wide range of parameters showed no significant difference when compared to traditional boat sampling. In addition, the team have made several significant contributions towards the advancement and application of drone water sampling methods. Overall, drone water sampling offers a unique opportunity to sample remote and inaccessible lakes worldwide, in a more efficient and safer manner.