More drones are headed to Lake Ontario to monitor lake levels. Funding from FEMA and New York State is helping scientists get a better look at the lake shore and water levels.

“The drones allow us to make super accurate maps,” said Oceanographer Christopher Sherwood, who works at the United States Geological Service traveled all the way from Massachusetts. His team specializes in coastal erosion, one of three groups throughout the United States.

The images will be taken by a drone that can take 50-100 pictures per minute. “In best cases when we’ve got good light and we’ve got good ground control, we make a map that has a pixel size of about 3.5 centimeters on the ground,” said Sherwood. These maps will allow people to assess damage all along the coast and any other area impacted by the flooded lake, even months after the water recedes.

“It will be a reference point for looking to see what happens after lake levels fall and we see what get’s revealed from that,” said Sherwood. Once the maps go public they can be used at the local, state, and national level to assess damage.

“Hopefully planners will be able to make use of these super accurate maps and FEMA will be able to use them to evaluate some of the damage without going door to door, but be able to just look at the images,” said Sherwood. Their hope is to have the information available by this fall.

There is another group of scientists working for New York State that is installing small radar detectors above the water. Once installed, they will eventually be able to send updates on lake levels every six minutes as they slowly recede over the coming months.