Introducing RiverEye - an innovative beaver burrow detection and risk assessment tool
Written by Technical Director, Robbie Cowan

Over the course of the past nine months, we have been working alongside Storm Geomatics as part of the Scottish Government’s CivTech programme to develop RiverEye, an innovative beaver burrow detection and risk assessment tool.

The CivTech programme brings people together from across the public, private and third sectors to develop innovations that solve real-world problems faced by government departments, public sector organisations and charities. Each year these problems are broken down into a series of challenges and in 2022 we responded to an open tender asking for technology proposals to address how technology could be used to help detect beaver burrows in the wild and assess their associated risks.

Designed to provide a more consistent and robust approach to beaver habitat management, RiverEye combines traditional sonar technology with a JBA-developed field app and web-based management system, which standardises data collection and empowers decision makers.

RiverEye can generate three-dimensional point cloud data sets of underwater habitats where potential burrows may exist. Alongside these data sets, the RiverEye field app gathers visual evidence of beaver activity above the water, which is then brought together in a webGIS with reporting and analysis functionality. As a result, these burrows can be effectively managed to reduce any associated risks.

Collaborating to create a sustainable solution through the CivTech challenge programme

Due to the beaver’s status as a protected species and the many positive benefits they bring to wildlife and people, sustainability formed a key part of this challenge. Surveying, observing and recording the beaver habitat generated a better understanding of potential risks that their activities may pose. Ultimately, this will allow beaver habitats to be managed and beavers themselves licenced in a sustainable manner, with all decision makers better informed.

As well as working alongside our project partners at Storm Geomatics, this project also saw our team collaborating with challenge sponsors NatureScot and the CivTech team throughout. With their support we were able to move through the various challenge stages with guidance and workshops designed aid product development and fine tune the skills needed to bring the solution to market. This culminated in a live demonstration day, where we were able to pitch RiverEye to senior figures from the public, private and third sectors.

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Want to know more?

Watch JBA Technical Director, Robbie Cowan and Storm Geomatics' Anthony Pritchard introduce RiverEye at the CivTech showcase event here.

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