Drone data helps manage indigenous lands in Northern Ontario, Canada

Four Rivers vehicle and WingtraOne drone in Canada

Matawa First Nations Management is a not-for-profit Tribal Council in Northern Ontario, Canada, which provides key advisory and support services to its nine member First Nation communities. Four Rivers Environmental Services is a group within the tribal council, and its manager Sarah Cockerton recently shared how WingtraOne is providing vital drone data for indigenous land use strategies.

A big part of our work is to gather land and resource information and make it available to communities so they can make informed decisions about their resources, and potential impacts to their homeland and traditional territories.

Sarah Cockerton
Manager, Four Rivers Environmental Services Group

“We got started because there’s huge mineral potential in northern Ontario in an area known as the Ring of Fire. Over time however, we grew aware of the impacts that climate change has on traditional ways of life, so we gather information to help track this as well.”

Before COVID, Four Rivers depended mostly on collecting traditional values information via talking to elders. Through these conversations, they recorded how the environment was, and how it is today. But with social distancing this became impossible. So the group shifted their resources to drones to collect a different form of valuable data on land and resources.

They invested in a DJI M300 and a WingtraOne to take up north, where until recently little to no high-quality imagery for maps existed. After setting up and using both drones, they discovered they only wanted to use WingtraOne.

“We quickly appreciated the value of the WingtraOne images to support First Nation communities in ways we had not even imagined. The drone’s data helps communities revolutionize environmental monitoring in vast northern Ontario lands by providing quantifiable information with every flight.”

Two pilots with drone image credit: Sonny Black.

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