Hey everybody,

I'm an Electrical Engineering student at The Ohio State University and I will be going to Ghana this summer for 3 weeks with a City & Regional Planning group.  The area we are going to has pretty bad aerial photographs on Google Earth and ArcGIS, and they currently have one road map for the whole region which isn't very accurate or detailed at all.  I have until June to build a drone or something to get these aerial photographs once I'm there, and I'm just wondering what people think would be the best design for this?  I was also considering a helium balloon and kites, but I'd also very much enjoy a project like a quadrotor or something, just as long as it can climb high enough for good aerial photos.

All help is much appreciated!



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Buy a standard RC plane, a Blixer perhaps and mount a Canon camera, one that can use CHDK to allow the camera to take high shutter speed interval images on it and then fly.

IMHO you don't have enough time to teach yourself UAS before going live.

This method will garner results.

Also its just a model plane that you are taking for fun. Leaving the USA with a "drone" could cause you issues, also entering an African country with a drone if they choose to see it that way would certainly cause you issues.

Post production is what its all about, have a look at Grassroots mapping.

Thanks man! That's just what I was looking for.

In addition to whatever you decide to do with aerial imagery, I'd recommend just bringing a hand-held GPS unit that you have on whenever you're driving around the city.  Then (when you get back?) upload that to Open Street Map and trace the roads.  This will give future people who go there a leg up over what you had.  If you want to go to the next level, have the locals write down the names of the roads for you as you're driving along. 

I'm currently volunteering in Bolivia, and I've done that for my city and a couple surrounding towns, and it has been a great help to other volunteers as well as the (increasingly large) computer literate population.

I'd like to suggest an alternative camera solution. Buy a Pentax W-30 or W-80 waterproof and crash proof camera on eBay used. Send it to C.R.I.S. Camera service in Arizona, have Stacie get it wired to activate the shutter with two leads out. Get a Pico switch from Trossen Robotics made for RC receiver to activate shutter from your transmitter. Set Pentax to full wide angle, continuous shots, infinite focus, sport shooting mode. Trigger shutter from your Tx. One shot every 1.3 seconds, 7mp and survives really hard crashes, long full dunks in water.

I'll see if I can do that.  I might test out the balloon with a camera of my own first and then go from there.  Thanks though

That's a great idea!  Haha I've been told the roads don't even have names in most areas. Maybe I can get the locals to do that, and who knows maybe name a few myself.

I've also found that a couple of the towns are on Google Earth, but then it crosses over to another aerial photo that's very blurry, is there a way to combine the good map from Google Earth with my own images as well as GPS tracks?

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