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Stream mapping using a remote control model helicopter.
Bonde, John1, Johnston, Carol1, 1
ABSTRACT- Wetland and stream ecologists need a remote sensing device to map data at resolutions intermediate between satellite and ground-based measurements because medium-resolution heterogeneity is important to ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling, habitat structure, and plant distribution. To meet this need, we are developing a Model Helicopter Stream Imaging System (MHSIS). The system uses a remote control model helicopter, capable of carrying a 10 pound payload and flying at very low elevations. A gondola attached to the helicopter contains a small computer, wireless ethernet, GPS, attitude sensor, aerial survey laser, and infrared digital camera. The digital camera photographs the ecosystem, the laser measures helicopter height above the ground, the GPS and attitude sensors measure x,y location and platform orientation, the wireless ethernet link transmits commands and the computer controls operations and records data. The information collected by aerial surveillance is converted into a georeferenced ecosystem map using image analysis and GIS techniques.
KEY WORDS: aerial, remote, sensing, mapping