Remote sensing with UAV for biomass estimation

We have just completed a pioneer project with Dr Chue Poh Tan from ETH university, Zurich for her postdoctoral research on tropical rain forest biomass estimation with low cost UAV.

Flying in the middle of dense tropical rain forest is very challenging. Looking for a suitable takeoff and landing site is almost "mission impossible". But we are blessed with a team of highly knowledgeable forestry department staff lead by a senior officer. Finally we have two site to lunch the UAV.

I'm using my Skywalker base UAV with the same configuration as this, But I have upgrade it with the APM 2.5 and ublox GPS and 2.73 firmware. The new navigation controller is really amazing. My plane now trace perfectly along the grid line. It also hold altitude better than previous version. I'm totally happy with my current set up and a big thank you for the arduplane development team.

The real challenge of flying in forest is definitely landing. Although we may have a suitable site for landing but it is all surround by tall trees. The window for approaching is very narrow. Most of the time we have to do a steep dive to lose altitude once the plane pass those tall tree. 

We fly a total of 8 mission in three difference area including one using a modify near infra red camera. There are a few thousands geo-ref image waiting for the Doctor to analyse. I think she will be busy for sometime.

Here I share the tlog from one of the mission and you can see how well the new controller is.


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Comment by u4eake on July 18, 2013 at 7:43am

Nice !  You kinda have my dreamjob!

Comment by LanMark on July 18, 2013 at 9:19am

very nice

Comment by LanMark on July 18, 2013 at 9:20am

couldn't you do the parachute sort of landing.. I have seen a number of people doing that for landing their plane.

Comment by lianpinkoh on July 18, 2013 at 10:51am

Looks great, Keeyen.

Comment by Ned Horning on July 18, 2013 at 2:31pm

This looks like fun. I'm also interested in forest biomass estimation using low cost photographic systems. Do you know if Dr. Chue Poh Tan has any reports she can share or if she has published any of her work?

Comment by keeyen pang on July 19, 2013 at 1:12am

Hi LanMark, In such a restricted and narrow available open space, parachute landing may end up hanging on those tall tree. 

Hi Ned, as far as I know, she just start this research not long ago. But if you want to contact her for further info, pls PM me. 

Comment by keeyen pang on July 21, 2013 at 6:17am

Hi Ned, Dr CP Tan can be reach via email : I've told her about your request. Please feel free to contact her for more info about her research. 

Comment by Abdullah Ghani on August 26, 2013 at 3:33am

Wow amazing, Hi..Keeyan, you do a great job. How long it can stay on air?

Comment by keeyen pang on August 26, 2013 at 3:43am

Hi Encik Abdullah

Great to meet Sabahan here. The plane can fly about 40 minutes but we usually set our mission time to 30 minutes to have some margin. I'll soon upgrade the power system to fly for 75 minutes. This will greatly increase the productivity.

Comment by Abdullah Ghani on August 27, 2013 at 1:59pm

Hi keeyen,

Do you think that you can fly it into some part in the middle of Sepilok Forest Reserve? I'm interested to know of your drone capability to derive LiDAR Data in some part of Sandstone hill area in SFR.


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