A MICRO-UAV SYSTEM FOR FOREST MANAGEMENT
Keywords: Micro-UAV, Forest Management, Fire Detection, Aerial Photogrammetry, Ground Control Station, Image Processing, Remote Piloting
Abstract. Spin.Works has developed a complete micro-UAV system with the purpose of supporting forest management activities. The aircraft is based on a winged-body design spanning 1.8 m with a maximum take-off weight of 2 kg, and can carry out missions lasting up to 2 h at a cruise speed of about 60 km/h. The corresponding ground station ensures the mission planning functions, real-time flight monitoring and visualization, and serves also as a real-time and post-flight data exploitation platform.
A particular emphasis is placed on image processing techniques applied to two operational concepts: a fire detection service and a forest mapping service. The real-time operations related to fire detection consist on object tracking and geo-referencing functions, which can be operated by a user directly over the video stream, enabling the quick estimation of the 3D location (latitude, longitude, altitude) of suspected fires. The post-flight processing consists of extracting valuable knowledge from the payload data, in particular tree coverage maps, orthophoto mosaics and Digital Surface Models (DSMs), which can be used for further forest characterization such as wood and cork volume estimation.
The system is currently entering initial operations, with expanded operations expected during Q3 2013.