This magazine isn't online, but you can get it on your iPad, Kindle or Android tablet via NextIssue. The article is a pretty basic overview, with examples of using a Rite Wing Zephyr and a hexacopter along with a Canon s100 modified with the IR filter removed. But it's notable that drones are getting this kind of attention in agriculture. 

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Comment by Jack Crossfire on June 24, 2013 at 12:21am

Hard to believe there are enough farms for an Arducopter IR mapping product to have the kind of volume it needs to be profitable.

Comment by Rana on June 24, 2013 at 1:01am

Chris, ur previous avatar was good !

Comment by Grant Oswald on June 24, 2013 at 4:15am

Pretty good article really. I agree with your comments Kevin. I believe that they would hold true here in Australia. I can see that drones will be used as a tool for agronomists / consultants rather than everyday farmers. I have tried to find software to automate the process of analyzing the photos but have come up blank. Sounds like the Agpixel program is exactly what I've been looking for. Do you have any other information on it? Are you beta testing it?

Also in the article you mentioned you mapped 640 acres in 18 minutes. Do you mind posting your process of achieving this? I wonder what accuracy the photos had? Did you use ground control points? or camera gps? Did you use photoscan to mosiac the photos? What photo overlap did you use? The article mentioned the camera took photos every 4 seconds, I wonder what airspeed and altitude you used?

Thanks in advance


Comment by keeyen pang on June 24, 2013 at 7:21am

Very interesting info. Currently I am doing aerial mapping for an oil palm plantation. The main objective of this operation is to count palm stand and discover vacant point. I am also using Canon S100. The resolution is about 10 cm per pixel at 300 meter altitude. We can map about 250 Ha of land in 30 to 40 minutes. 

It happen that I also got a maxmax modify Canon S100. Have not try out yet. I understand that the so call ndvi obtain by the camera is relative and if we map a large area, light condition change will affect the result. May be agpixel can have a breakthrough in this area?

Comment by Adrian Eves on June 24, 2013 at 11:02am

This is already happening in the UK.

We operate a commercial UAS based agricultural data service which was launched earlier this year following several years of research:

URSULA Agriculture

Comment by Kevin Price on June 24, 2013 at 11:13am

US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations have really slowed program in this area in the US.  It is nearly impossible for a company to form that wishes to use sUAS technology because FAA will shut them down.  We are praying for a more progressive attitude by the FAA in the future.  There are 1000s of hobbyist flying these types of aircraft every day in the US and no one that I have talked to has ever heard of a mid air collision between a manned aircraft and a remotely controlled aircraft.

Comment by LanMark on June 24, 2013 at 11:20am

Funny how you can fly a ultralight without a license and at 500 feet but you can't fly a 3lbs quad copter at < 400 ft. 

Comment by Deon van der Merwe on June 24, 2013 at 11:54am

Good point Monroe, that is why we do not fly beyond visual range, and we do not fly over people. A small UAV that does not cost an arm and a leg has the added "safety feature" that you can crash it in a crop field if there is an approaching manned aircraft and not enough time to land. No-one will get hurt. Not so simple when there is a person in the aircraft.

Comment by Deon van der Merwe on June 24, 2013 at 12:04pm

Adrian, thanks for sharing the link to URSULA. We will have to do a bit of catch-up here in the US when the FAA finally allows UAS commercial applications in 2015 (or so we've been promised). I expect that your example is going to be invaluable to us. In the mean time, we are pushing ahead as far as possible under the restrictions.

Comment by Kevin Price on June 24, 2013 at 12:37pm

I am still waiting to see where the small unmanned aircraft have been involved in a mid air collision.  I would then ask if there were a few cases, why pick on the sUAS.  If a collision or two is justification for grounding sUAS, then we need to ground all the aircraft, and if trying to avoid ever having an accident were justification, then let's all get off the road and stop driving cars.  If we were really this serious about saving lives, we would shut down the Internet so bad people could not ue it to stock others, we would get rid of alcohol so no drunk driving accidents could happen.  Is this really more about control than safety?


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