Mike, I have looked at conservation drones; and I love it! Those guys have taken the bull by the horns. Still rough around the edges, but they seem to be making progress, and they are doing us all a great service by spreading the message that sUAS are useful.
Michael - Thank you for the kind comment. I had no background in RC of any type. A good friend, and biologist, Chad Cyrus and I had talked many times in his Piper Super Cub about unmanned flights for research purposes. He and I would survey Sage Grouse leks, and prairie dog colonies. At 180 mph and only 200ft off the ground, we had discussed what if...and laughed. He crashed on a flight that I was suppose to be with him, but was not. I spent 14 months researching UAVs and wrote a grant to the MLB SuperBat, which we use...not a DIY. But we use a proven airframe, and DIY equipment and instruments for research applications.
Seems you guys are still at it and having fun. We are becoming more and more involved here in Namibia, with all sorts. Th MInistry has procured a SurVoyeur mk-II system from us, together with the one full mk-I system we donated to them. The mk-II is lighter, greater wingspan, is fitted with the FLIR TAU-2 infrared camera on a gimbal ( take a look at my blog here on the gimbal - it works very well).
Google has sponsored some $5M US to establish a security/antipoaching capability, in 4 countries, using technology, of which UAV's will form a part. Namibia ( ETOSHA) has been chosen as the first site, and WWF has visited us , with an Israeli UAV/Wildlife consultant, to asses our capability and system. We flew some demos for them and all were well impressed, so we are well in line to hopefully be chosen as the suppliers!
We are also becoming involved with the Desert Lions projects here - take a look at:
The fellow doing all this tracks these creatures all over the place, trying to balance the animals life against the local population in the remote areas - often great conflict as the Lions may take there cattle, which gives the local the 'right' to shoot the poor creature.
So we are developing a balloon tethered VHF tracker to help him determine if there are any tagged Lions in the nearby area, and then he can proceed to track with normal VHF. Also we hope to develop the balloon tracker further and locate one ate each small village, with a warning system; flashing lights, siren, etc, to warn the villagers that a lion is in the near vicinity - they can then be alert and send the chasers out...Also, if this works well, we want to try make a small 'portable, unit that the cattle herder can deloy out in the grasslands, when out feeding the cattle. When alarmed, he can at least try heard the cattle in...Anything to try help these Lions survive!
We have used OziEx and also Fugawi - But our ground station is an integrated system, so we do the map calibration in the GCS software - we find some errors ( 10's of meters) in the more Southern and Northern hemispheres, and lo, we find the same using Fugawi, so either the planet is skewed or the Great A'tuin, or at least one elephant,has shrugged ( if you read Terry Pratchett..) and so trying to find some maths boffins to discuss with. DIYdrones site is so belaboured with quadcrap that any discussion you post zips of the main page is seconds, lost among all the APM connection problems, fly-aways, and incessant repeats of the same-old-same-old..Need a new site for those who have progressed a little past the dummy sucking phase -