Hello all

In middle of March we went to map the newly formed lava in Holuhraun Iceland, the biggest lava flow in Iceland for the last 200 years with a size of about 80 km^2 (same size as Reykjavík the capital city of Iceland). The eruption did get some media attention, for example Good Morning America had a live broadcast from the eruption and Discovery Canada made a video about the Scientists working there.

 Me and my friend are operating a UAV service here in Iceland and were lucky enough to be invited with the scientist from the Institude of earth sciences at the University of Iceland to map this newly formed lava only two weeks after the eruption stopped. The area is still closed and only open for scientists with a special permission. IMG_7921.jpg?width=300The results were stunning and the amount of data we were able to gather with our UAV mapping platform was tremendous. It is very interesting to compare this method with older methods of mapping with a GPS on the ground and only gathering few hundred measured points in one day while this method record millions of points. The scientists do belive that this area will change quite a lot in the coming years and the craters could possibly collapse.


Of course we are using APM for our mapping platform but the UAV we used was built by our self. From the images we created a 3D model of the Lava field and in the video below you can enjoy flying through this new landscape. The 3D model is from the craters and the lava river that once did stream from the craters is quite obvious to in this 3D model.

We did get some attention of the media here in Iceland.

For this project we used a custom built Skyhunter with APM autopilot and PIX4D to generate the 3D model. We did make special ground control flags that can be seen on the image above. All the flags were measured with a RTK-GPS.


All this was made possible by the clever minds on this forum so thanks to all!

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • @Yannick, thank you for this 3D model we shot about 500 images, we did fly on other parts of the lava and shot in total over 1100 images of the lava field.

    @John Moore, hehe yeah the wind was a problem this winter and we had to abort some flights due to wind when the ground speed was approaching zero when flying against the wind. But landing in such a high winds is very nice it's like landing a helicopter.

    @Adam Kroll We have been using a Skyhunter airframe, it has performed very well. I like that airframe since the wings are high up so it is easy to land in rough terrain. We did not experience any issues due to cold except a greatly reduced flight time, we kept the batteries warm right untill we took off.

    Regarding the flags it was very funny how well they stuck to the lava. Since the lava was extremely rough it was like a velcro and putting rocks onto the flags was almost not needed.

  • I really like those surveying flags! Very well done.

  • What airframe are you using and how did it perform?  Also any isues flying in such cold weather such as electronics problems, batteries needing to be warmed up etc.


  • Nice job. Having visited Iceland in March I bet the hardest part was fighting/avoiding the 40 mph winds.

  • Great work!

    How many pictures did you shoot? At witch GSD?

This reply was deleted.