We are always glad to take on opportunities for the promotion of small drone mapping. What better way to do that than by helping with training and education of progressively thinking young land surveyors and mappers? When the Department of Geomatics of the University of Florida recently approached us for assistance in the teaching of their certificate course on UAV mapping, we volunteered to demonstrate our automated image acquisition procedure. We realize that a lot still has to be done to convince sceptic professionals that small drone mapping is a robust, reliable, accurate and extremely efficient approach to bring just-in-time actionable geo-spatial information to the desks of decision makers such as engineers, environmentalists and farmers.
Getting approval to conduct the flights over a suitable site on University property proved to be a frustrating exercise. So we decided to turn to the private sector for a more practical and timely solution and promptly received spontaneous approval from Mr. and Mrs. Larry Rogers, the owners of Rogers Farm. They kindly allowed us to conduct the field exercise on and over their land some 10 miles out of town.
For this exercise it was decided to use ground control points (GCPs) for accurate geo-referencing of the models and maps produced from aerial images using the professional version of the Structure from Motion (SfM) Photoscan program.
The images were acquired with our customized mapping copter, the MAP-M4, designed, assembled, configured and tuned by our sister company Micro Aerial Projects L.L.C. (www.microaerialprojects.com).
The students used a copy of the aerial images to produce project posters illustrating various facets of high resolution drone mapping. We ourselves will be using these high resolution images to investigate the use of the imagery to estimate strawberry yields.
To return the favor of letting us fly over their property we produced a 3D model of a corn field maze which Rogers Farm annually prepares for their Octoberfest each year. So please do not be tempted to do the maze virtually – rather consult http://rogersfarm.webplus.net/page10.html and get some fresh air by visiting Rogers Farm during their Octoberfest from October 3rd through November 1st 2015.