Aerial Overview Survey Methods

Aerial overview surveys are usually done from fixed-wing aircraft flown at 500 to 1000 m (1500 to 3000 ft) above ground level, and at speeds of 100 to 140 knots (185 to 260 km/hr). The survey is designed to cover as much area as possible while retaining the ability to identify and map infested stands at map scales of 1:100,000 to 1:250,000.

Overview data provides enough detail to describe

  • Gross area damaged,
  • General location of the damage, and
  • The trend in damage (increasing, decreasing, or static compared to previous years’ data).

The survey is not normally accurate enough to direct operational activities. However, it is used to identify general areas of interest for directing more detailed detection.

In areas where additional, much more spatially accurate data is required to direct operational activities, detailed aerial surveys may be performed. 

Damaging agents are usually identified using

  • Their unique damage characteristics,
  • Prior knowledge of pest activity, and
  • Ground survey verification.