UAV for Geomatics Applications: The Challenges


Event details

Date and time 16.10.2012 16:1517:15  
Place and room
Speaker Dr. Ismael Colomina, Director, Institute of Geomatics and Head of Integrated Geodesy and Navigation Unit, Castelldefels, Spain
Category Conferences - Seminars

In recent times, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have been identified as a valuable technology for close-range Earth observation. Although the UAS concept covers a wide range of systems -from few tens of grams to more than thousand kilograms, from low altitude to stratospheric aircraft, from scientific to military-, small UAS are dominating the scene in geomatics applications and, today, one can say that UAS is the enabling technology for aerial close-range photogrammetry and remote sensing.

It seems conceptually clear and everyday practice confirms that "aerial close-range photogrammetry and remote sensing" for small areas from unmanned platforms has advantages like affordability, flexibility and transportability with respect to existing technologies. As a result, UAS-based data acquisition and processing, has established itself as the fourth mapping paradigm following the aerial, space and terrestrial mobile ones. Moreover, from the outset, it has been applied to topographic, agricultural and environmental mapping. And, since fabricating and buying UAS is far less expensive than fabricating and buying planes, a new sector of small and medium entrerprises (SME) has emerged. These SME companies offer from UAS components, to UAS full fledged systems, to services and to small sensors. For the same reason, research on UAS applications is flourishing at universities.

As promising as they might be, UAS technology and procedures are young and, as elsewhere, there are problems and challenges. Navigation and imaging sensors shall be small and lightweight, missions shall last enough, unmanned aircraft shall stand the sometimes extreme environment conditions like wind, rain and temperature. And they have to avoid crashes to other aircraft and to other natural and artificial objects. Moreover, recent experience has shown that data acquired in UAS missions cannot just be processed with the existing software for manned aerial systems.

In the presentation a short review of UAS remote sensing will be provided, the actual possibilities and limitations will be highlited and the challenges ahead to make the technolgy mature for applications identified.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free
  • This event is internal


  • IIE