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ISU uses model airplane to map underground drainage

Tue, 01 Jan 2013 15:29:13 CST
By: Charlie Schlenker

An ISU Scholar is helping farmers determine drainage patterns and eventually where to create wetlands to filter runoff into the Lake Bloomington watershed. Geography Professor Jonathan Thayn says most surface drainage has been put underground by farmers in the last century and a half so they can grow crops on more of their land. And farmers don't always know where the tile lines go. Thayn says they are using the non visible part of the light spectrum to find out.

Thayn says they mount the special camera on a remote controlled airplane and fly it using a GPS over fields mapping right after storm events and a week after to generate images of where the tiles are. He says wetlands built at runoff points can filter out nitrogen and phosphorus from the City of Bloomington water supply.

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