Hey UAV heads!
I've been flying RC's my whole life but I'm totally new to this sort of thing. I'm trying to find a solution to fly a UAV autonomously over a forest fire at night. The goal is to have it record IR video and send it back to a base station which records the live IR video and also the GPS coordinates, time and date, like an information overlay over the IR image. Over course it also needs to be able to fly safely at night atonomously. If price and platforms weren't a concern, is this possible?
Going back to your original question about platforms, you could use a fixed wing flying in stabilised mode using First Person View technology to scout for areas of interest, then switch to autonomous (drone) control to survey and map the area of interest, as stated in an earlier post, there is a forum on DIY Drones that covers survey and mapping. Check out the FPV Hub forum in the UK and organisation, people are flying up to 40km from base in some countries. www.fpvhub.com and www.fpvuk.org
You might want to drop New Generation Hobbies an email, as they are based in Woodbridge, Ontario and will know all about the laws relating to FPV in Canada (frequencies, etc.) www.nghobbies.com
Please consider opening up a "Forest Fire" blog if you make any progress on this subject.
Best of luck,
...also check this page http://www.nitrofirex.com/?lang=en
Radically different situation, not only are people cooler than fire, but the landscape at Kruger is much warmer generally than Canada. So not surprising that it would be difficult to filter the spread, particularly in early evening.
To mitigate this issue (heat and updraft affecting the baro) you could change the gps-baro mixing parameter, so that the plane relies more on GPS altitude than on barometric altitude.