Gaining Experience with our UAV: More on the Polish Map

We returned to the Great Polish Map of Scotland a couple of weeks ago to record some imagery using our DJI Phantom quadcopter (the smaller of our two UAVs). Despite really being intended as a ‘trainer’ for its ‘big brother’, this is proving a remarkably flexible little device for geographical investigation of the landscape. I blogged previously that we tried it out on the Kindrogan trip with the GIS Masters students and have subsequently been developing operational procedures. The device has three main uses (1) taking video imagery (2) taking still photography and (3) the creation of georeferenced ortho-photos from these still images which can be used to create terrain models. As far as the Polish map was concerned, our aim was to help our friends at and Polish-Scottish Heritage who had made the explanatory video on the map. They were keen to add better images of the map itself, which is surprisingly difficult to photograph from the ground owing to iImagets enormous size.  Thus our UAV was the ideal solution, with Bruce Gittings ably assisted by Sandy Avery and Miles MacCalman.  We were able to take both still images and video footage with its little go-pro camera. That should be controllable from a smartphone using wifi communications, but we haven’t quite mastered that yet, so instead set the camera to take continuous video or still images every half-second.  The mission was successful and one of the images is shown here.  Getting an idea of the scale of the map is difficult, so for perspective I have highlighted our two UAV operators – the pinpoints in the red circle. Although we haven’t created a terrain model from the map, that would be entirely possible and then this could be compared against an actual terrain modem of Scotland to assess the Polish map’s accuracy.  It could also be used to assess the extent of damage.  We decided this would make an interesting MSc dissertation project!

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