An Initial Report on FTJF’s Drone Mapping Project

The FJFT is pleased to announce that this spring’s drone mapping pilot project was a great success. Led by Board member Katie O’Meara, a member of MICA’s Architectural Design faculty, and joined by FJFT-funded student intern Anna Brackett (MICA Architectural Design, 2022), our mapping team was able to capture a range of high-resolution video and photographic footage of a portion of the lower Jones Falls. 

They employed drone flight and photogrammetry technology to produce detailed maps and 2.5D scale models of our upcoming project areas. Scrambling against the clock, the team was able to complete a baseline documentation of the Jones Falls from Penn Station to Cold Spring Lane before trees began leafing out this spring, providing them with detailed before-and-after imagery for our spring cleanup. 

In the future, this footage will also provide us with a number of before-images for our cleanups of invasive species and trash. The team was on hand during the FTJF/Repair the World April 11th Stream Clean-Up, capturing our amazing volunteers in action around and in the ravine behind Union Craft Brewery–reclaiming 2,120 pounds of trash! But, that’s just one of several continuous environments adjacent to the Jones Falls that have now been documented in stunning aerial views within Baltimore’s urban landscape. 

The impressive results from this drone pilot project have clearly demonstrated a number of ways for us to implement these state-of-the-art mapping and photography tools to advance our mission of long-term stewardship of the Jones Falls and inform research, monitoring and clean-up efforts for us, our partners, and for similar stewardship groups. As leaders in this aerial methodology, we are in active discussion with researchers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed about further applications of this innovative approach.

Two samples of project footage shows certain baseline data for future cleanups as well as providing footage that informs our narrative of the Jones Falls as an enchanting, practical and essential part of Baltimore City’s lively green network of urban oases. Fly here- Stunning Views of Round Falls and The Jones Falls at North Ave + Howard St.

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