Category Archives: Aerial/UAS

Lidar for Forestry

Above: Lidar-derived tree crowns and maximum tree-top heights are overlaid on a 20cm orthophoto. Vector-based products allow for a transition from the point cloud to GIS. A forester’s guide to understanding lidar topics, from upfront data-acquisition costs to business benefits to the path from research to operationalization. Although many lidar industry insiders never imagined the...

Satellite Imagery’s Impact

Above: The highest resolution of commercial satellite imagery is still more than an order of magnitude lower than the highest resolution attainable from aerial platforms. Keystone Aerial Surveys, Inc. developed this digital surface model from 1.75 cm digital imagery taken with a low-altitude flight. The resolution is sufficiently high to enable its use for mapping...

Unmanned Systems

Above: This robot, the BoniRob, was developed for precision agriculture by Osnabrueck University of Applied Sciences in Germany, led by Arno Ruckelshausen. Robots for Precision Agriculture, Weather Forecasting, Scientific Studies From Amazon to Google to Domino’s Pizza, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have been drawing significant attention in recent months.  Amazon plans to launch a Prime...

SGM

Obtaining economical and accurate point clouds from semi-global matching. In the old days, mappers were thrilled with 30 meter USGS digital elevation models (DEMs). These were available for almost everywhere in the United States. Years later they started producing 10m DEMs, and life was really good. We had one elevation point “on the ground” every...

Legal UAS

Until the final FAA rules are in place for UAS incorporation in national airspace, the Section 333 exemption petition process is the only way to legally fly UAS for commercial applications in the United States. In late 2014, Government Accounting Office (GAO) stated, “The consensus of opinion is the integration of unmanned systems will likely...

The New Spacescape

Small satellites are changing who dominates the field of satellite remote sensing. Move over military and government policy and regulation. Make way for private companies and even the public.   There are big changes afoot in the satellite remote-sensing field: improved technology as well as regulatory shifts enabling the application of this technology (see “New Markets for Satellite...