Inside Unmanned Systems

APR-MAY 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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15 April/May 2018 unmanned systems inside Benefi ts of Using the mdMapper1000DG •   The advanced aerial photogrammetry package allows for a high level of data accuracy •  It covers more ground in one fl ight •  There's no need for ground control points •  Less people and equipment are necessary for each job •  Jobs take less time, as does post processing •   It can be used for a variety of missions including area mapping, surveying, construction, mining and LiDAR applications After reliability, accuracy was the next top consider- ation, Long said. The system had to provide at least the same level of accuracy as the manual surveys, a bench- mark the Microdrones solution had no trouble reaching and surpassing. The Advantage of DG White Birch paper mill sta r ted w ith the or ig ina l mdMapper solution, but then moved on to the more a dva nced md Mapper1000DG drone. This system features direct georeferencing (DG), which means there's no need to lay down multiple ground control points (G CPs) on what is ver y dangerous ter rain, Long said. "If you use our entry level system or any other sensor or drone on the market, you have to lay down ground control points that help you get the level of accuracy you need. The GCPs help ensure the measurements from the pile are correct and that you can process the data as a volume," Long said. "When you use DG, you don't have to do that, which saves a lot of time. You also don't have to walk around the piles of wood chips to put the GCPs in place, so it's safer and the results are accurate. You're still using a base station, but it's easy to set up. You can also use a smart target. As long as the target is appear- ing in the images, you're good to go." Using DG also reduces overlap, Long said, leading to faster post processing times after the 200 or so images are taken. Overcoming Weather Conditions The mill's city location wasn't the only challenge the Microdrones team had to overcome when taking on this project. They also had to contend with weather, Long said. Quebec City is known for its harsh winters that come with extremely cold temperatures and plenty of snow, which can make f lights a little difficult during that time of year, Long said. The mill is also located near the St. Lawrence River, which often brings heavy winds to the area. Pilots have to consider these conditions when it's time to f ly, but they know the robust Microdrones system is built to handle adverse weather. A Happy Customer Now that Microdrones handles wood chip pile surveys for White Birch, there's no need for the mill to send workers out to do the job manually. So instead of sur- veyors coming away with an incomplete picture of the pile volumes, the Microdrones solution stiches the im- ages together to create a 3-D map of the pile, and data from that 3-D model is then brought into volume cal- culation software to provide the exact volume of every pile on the ground. "They wanted a solution that was accurate, cheaper and safer for operators on the ground and for the peo- ple in the area," Long said. "We've been able to offer that, and have proven over the last three years that we can provide more accurate data than they ever had in the past."

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