The SCOPE Drifters are an important tool for measuring the movement of surface currents, but they only tell part of the story. In recognizing this aspect, EPA-approved biodegradable Rhodamine dye was deployed inside and outside of the surfzone. This pink dye was tracked with small vessels, swimmers, and portable dye sensor systems. But the best way to see the path of the dye/current is from the sky!
We are using 2 unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones) equipped with a GoPro camera to monitor drifters and dye. The vehicles are programmed for GPS waypoint flights and altitude hold. They use a Transmitter/Receiver set with telemetry (giving live updates on GPS, Altitude, Battery voltage, motor temp status, etc.) and a gyro stabilized camera platform (compensating the motion of the vehicle).
In addition, we are also using a kite/balloon platform equipped with a GoPro camera. This can be used from a jetski or small boat or from land.
And finally, we are using a helicopter to collect video of dye dispersion and help in deploying or retrieving drifters.
Aerial image of rip current circulation curling back, visualized by dye release