Situated in Hoedspruit we are well within non-stop flying range of Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Projects in other provinces are welcomed as we travel light and can easily set up a temporary base wherever the mission takes us.
We have been directly involved in numerous environmental management and community development projects for more than 30 years, often playing leading roles in these initiatives. The members of Changing Tides 1126CC have strong academic backgrounds in environmental sciences, biology, education, aviation, business management and HR management. Additionally, we have experience in technical photography, GIS, geomatics, ecotourism and adventure tourism.
We are passionate about aviation and enjoy developing remote sensing techniques that exploit the versatility of modern light aircraft in combination with the continuing advances in digital photography and photogrammetry.
Our aviation background goes back to 1969 and 1983 when, respectively, Koos Kieck and Wynand Uys got their first pilot licenses.
In 2002 Wynand and Maritza took over Changing Tides 1126 CC with Air Service Lcence N691D that is now a well- established Hot Air Ballooning passenger service under our management. Maritza obtained her Balloon Pilot Licence and soon thereafter her PPL(A) followed by her CPL (A).
Duncan Roberson joined us in 2011 and also trained as a Balloon Pilot and PPL(A). He went on to obtain his CPL(A) IF, multi turbine and qualified for his ATPL in 2020.
Koos, who joined us in 2018, started his aviation career as a combat pilot and Pilot Attack Instructor. He retired from the SAAF in 1982 but couldn't resist rejoining in 1999 for another 10-year stint, during which time he became OC of 85 Combat Flight School. Now, as a civilian (again), he holds several positions in the professional aviation sphere and has many qualifications in safety, instruction, examination and quality assurance.
From these disparate backgrounds, our shared love of aviation
drew us together to serve a growing need for air support, surveillance and, eventually, formalised aerial survey operations in the Lowveld and further afield.
Initially we provided voluntary air support (and we still do) to conservation agencies and nature reserves in the Lowveld. Photography soon became a valuable tool for these missions and our 'clients' started requesting more sophisticated products.
Driven by their requirements, we studied photogrammetry, GIS and geomatics and invested in software and computing power to deliver the kind of products that were needed. This came at a most fortunate time for us, since software development for the drone industry then, already, negated the requirement for very expensive and heavy survey instruments. By using top-of-the range, over-the-counter digital cameras combined with a bespoke GNSS position logging system we can now produce highly accurate GIS and geomatic deliverables at resolutions down to 2cm/pixel (GSD).
What's more, we discovered that we can do this at a cost that is mostly lower than that for drone work and classic air survey methods. We excel in the GSD range of 5 to 20cm/pixel for projects between 100 and 100 000ha.
By always being driven by demand and selecting appropriate technologies to satisfy that demand, rather than being driven by available technologies and having to find applications for them, we are more streamlined and nimbler than most.
The requirements from ecologists and wildlife managers have led us to develop some unusual applications for aerial photogrammetry. One such example was born of the need to record shoulder heights and back lengths amongst wild elephant in order to model their population dynamics. First, we tried to model one or two elephant at a time and found that to be quite successful, provided the subjects remain motionless while we fly a tight orbit around them, taking a rapid burst of photographs. Upon presenting that to the scientists, we were challenged to record a whole family of elephant at a time and model their morphometrics within acceptable error margins. A bit of practice led to this being achieved too.