Utilising UAVs for Digital Imaging Analysis
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are an exciting new remote sensing tool capable of acquiring high spatial resolution data. Our UAVs are capable of collecting hyper resolution visible, multispectral, and thermal imagery for application in Precision agriculture. Traditional modes of data collection are not well suited to the detection of subtle but important changes in plant structure given low spatial resolutions.
Mapping with UAVs has the potential to provide imagery at an unprecedented spatial resolution. Our UAVs have several payload options including visible imagery, which is processed using feature matching and photogrammetric techniques to create Digital Surface Models (DSMs). A thermal infrared camera can be used to map soil moisture enabling assessment of irrigation efficiency, and multispectral camera enables the calculation of vegetation indices that relate to vegetation vigour and health.
The highest spatial resolution data available from conventional platforms such as satellites and manned aircraft is typically in the range of 20-100 cm/pixel. UAVs are capable of flying much lower and hence can collect imagery at a much higher resolution, even as detailed as 1 cm/pixel. The Temporal information of conventional systems is limited by the availability of aircraft platforms and orbit coverage patterns of satellites. For the purpose of monitoring highly dynamic vegetation such as that within vineyards, satellite sensors are very much limited due to unfavourable re-visit times.
The versatility of the UAV system is further enhanced by the fact that the data can be collected “on-demand”, providing unprecedented Temporal information that spans the critical times in the crop growing season. The imagery produced from UAV collected data has a spatial resolution generally from 2 to 5 cm/pixel.