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.