University of Southampton Maps Icelandic Glacier with UAV

Alex Clayton and Tom Bishop of the University of Southampton, UK, have conducted flights over the Skaftafellsjökull glacier in Iceland just one week after completing training with a QuestUAV. Despite poor visibility and very little experience with their new UAV, they succeeded in capturing imagery for a high-resolution DEM of the area which was later processed in Agisoft Photoscan.
 Alex Clayton, one of the two UAV pilotsThe trip lasted one week only and mainly concentrated on collecting GPS data and ensuring that GPS stations still worked, but with some spare time and good weather the crew got out flying. The UAV data will be used to support the geophysical work being done on the glacier. The crew hope to do continue their research using the QuestUAV and hope to get students from the University of Southampton involved in the near future.

The two are pleased to report that they were successful in flying over two days on the glacier. The Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) were happy for them to fly more or less anywhere, in any manner, since the UAVweighs <5kg.

Both postgraduate research students initially flew at sea level on farmland to test the system. The coastal area in this region is very flat and does not really have any topographic or man-made hazards for tens of kilometres, so it is very suitable for test flights. The local small gulls repeatedly dived the aircraft but did not make contact… and a farmer’s gun dog took a worrying interest whenever the aircraft landed, but Clayton and Bishop managed to restrain it.

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