What We’re Reading: New TNC Report on Remote Stewardship Monitoring

By Abby Smith on October 9, 2020

Our friends at TNC just released a fantastic white paper entitled “Remote Property Monitoring at The Nature Conservancy in California” about their experience navigating different remote monitoring options. Spoiler alert: remote monitoring has saved TNC an estimated 37% in staff time to date in 2020!

There’s a wealth of information here about TNC California’s thinking on the tradeoffs between costs, time, imagery sources, and broadly how remote approaches can complement in-person field visits. For example, check out the table they developed with guidance on what level of spatial resolution is needed to detect various types of changes on conservation easements below, and a visual comparison of the same property with remote imagery at various spatial resolutions.

Table with examples of permitted or prohibited uses and activites, and the minimum saptial resolution required to detect presence, absence, and specific details or characteristics
Table with examples of permitted or prohibited uses and activites, and the minimum saptial resolution required to detect presence, absence, and specific details or characteristics

Three images of the same scene at 0.5 meter, 1 meter, and 10 meter spatial resolutions
Three images of the same scene at 0.5 meter, 1 meter, and 10 meter spatial resolutions

The report concludes by stating “we believe that remote property monitoring even in non-pandemic times helps to save resources and keep staff safer.” Remote methods can make stewardship monitoring more efficient, allowing staff to spend more time on other important conservation work. Working with Ethan Inlander, Katie Andrews, and the whole TNC CA team has been a fantastic learning experience for us at Upstream Tech, and their input has helped to shape Lens into what it is today. We’re proud to support the important conservation work they do.