v.5.0 is out Now!
Reading time:

Identifying Landfill Hotspots and Methane Emissions with Drones

Integrated Systems
May 29, 2024

Our client, MAYA-DMDA, uses an aerial approach to monitoring and managing landfill hotspots and methane emissions. It employs advanced drone technology with thermal cameras and an SPH Engineering solution with a Laser Falcon sensor.

This case study explores the significance of MAYA-DMDA’s proactive strategy in landfill management, emphasizing financial and environmental benefits. By preventing the formation of landfill hotspots and reducing methane emissions, MAYA-DMDA not only complies with regulatory requirements but also significantly lowers potential remediation costs and environmental risks.


Traditional landfill management often involves reactive measures once problems have already occurred. With the increasing environmental and regulatory scrutiny, there is a pressing need for more proactive and innovative approaches.

MAYA-DMDA uses drones equipped with thermal imaging and a system with a Laser Falcon sensor, a solution from SPH Engineering. This integration enables rapid, efficient, and comprehensive monitoring of large landfill areas.

MAYA-DMDA follows a two-step procedure:

  • Thermal cameras detect variations in surface temperatures, indicating potential hotspots. The Laser Falcon sensor system measures gas concentrations and provides data to identify methane emissions.
  • Data captured by drones is analyzed to create detailed thermal and gas maps of the landfill sites. These maps are then used to assess and prioritize areas needing immediate attention.
Heat map of methane emissions


Drone-based methane detection technology has several benefits:

  • Proactive Monitoring: Using drones allows for regular and systematic surveys of landfill sites, enabling early detection of hotspots and methane leaks before they evolve into more significant issues.
  • Cost Efficiency: By identifying problems early, the technology significantly reduces the potential costs associated with large-scale remediation efforts that might be required if issues are not detected promptly.
  • Environmental Protection: Early detection and management of hotspots and methane emissions minimize the risk of environmental contamination, helping landfill operators comply with the regulations to reduce their environmental footprint.
Thermal Picture of Hotspot in Landfill

Implementation and Results

The technology has been deployed in various locations, effectively identifying hotspots and methane emissions. Operators have been able to take timely action based on the data provided, preventing the occurrence of subsurface fires and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The system's effectiveness in real-world scenarios underscores its potential as a critical tool for modern landfill operations.