Marcus UAV Corp. has a UAV package for sale that allows anyone to take high quality aerial photos with ease. This system, the “Zephyr UAV”, is primarily used for surveillance types of applications, but can easily double as an aerial photography platform. Just as you can check out what is going on in a remote area or location in real time with the zephyr surveillance package can you use the system to capture literally thousands of high resolution image stills. The Zephyr UAV system can be mounted with an optional Pentax 12 megapixel camera and trigger that makes taking images in any sequence that you suggest simple.
Methods Of Obtaining Photography
One way to control what a uav is taking images of is to use GPS coordinates as a reference. The UAV operator can use google maps to pinpoint their targeted landmark and program their uav system to take pictures at the desired way points during flight.
When using the long range UHF transmitter with our systems, (optional) it is possible to trigger the on board Pentax camera in real time from up to 30 miles away from it’s launch point. When the UAV airframe is over a point of interest as shown on the ground station monitor, the operator can trigger the digital camera on board at any interval.
If what you are looking to accomplish is gathering photos of the uav’s entire flight path, and are NOT needing high resolution images, then I suggest that you purchase and use the zephyr uav system with the surveillance video camera package installed. This will give you a whole roll of video tape to reference after each flight. HD video is also available if you do not care to broadcast video to the ground station in real time.
The video camera on board will be taking images at 7 frames per second. This data is captured using hardware installed on your ground station laptop or desktop computer system. Granted the images captured using the surveillance camera hardware will not be high in resolution, they will certainly be good enough for general survey purposes.
If you need the video frames to carry an increased amount of detail, then simply program the zephyr UAV system to fly at a lower altitude as to obtain close up images. If you need extreme close up’s of your reference, then request that your zephyr be installed with a 10x zoom video camera.
Photomosiacs – Photo Stitching- Fully Geo-Referenced
Very easily is it to transform photos taken with the Zephyr to another form. Compile your photos into a mosiac, geo-reference them, or both! All the user needs to do is export flight data and associated imagery into third party software for processing after flight. We recommend using a program called Geosetter for geo-referencing images, and a program called Microsoft ICE for photo stitching. Both programs are free to use and commonly available on the internet.
Accounting For Wind
As a matter of nature, the Zephyr will be affected by wind, but more so when flying directly perpendicular to it. In the case of aerial mapping, we will want to determine the direction of the wind when programming our flight path grid so that we can either go against or with it. If the Zephyr is either traveling faster or slower due to flying against or with the wind, our results will not deviate largely like a cross wind will generate.
In order to create the topographical maps that are needed for land surveying or other purposes, you will need to use the software that comes with your purchase as an option. The purchaser will be receive training on how to create these maps as a courtesy.
You will need a very powerful computer to run the needed software; minimum of 4 processors running 8 gigabytes of RAM. What exactly is needed in terms of hardware is dependent on a number of different factors, but by using a tesla processing unit, you will be more than compensating for these different variables. You can find plug and play units that fit most PC’s at the following link.
Check out our new post on 3D mapping here that demonstrates the possibilities…
Legality of Using Our Systems For Aerial Photography
It is not legal to sell aerial photography as a commercial product, however offering consulting services based on data you obtain does NOT require special permits or licenses. This fact is contingent on the Zephyr UAV system being flown under 400 M in altitude as well as being subject to manual control at all times. Additionally, you must have direct line of sight of the UAV airframe during all points of flight.
We suggest that you keep the included manual UAV transmitter/controller in hand at all times during flight as to allow for manual control of the UAV if needed to stay legal.