3D Robotics

T3, Round 4: Map a quarter-kilometer!

Welcome to the Time Trust Trial contest, Round 4 (T3-4)! This round is an aerial imaging task. Here is your assignment: Program your UAV to take photos from an altitude of ~400 feet that you then stitch together to make a single image showing an area of 500mx500m (a quarter square kilometer). Somewhere in that image, a Santa (or replica of a Santa, poster of a Santa, just you wearing a Santa hat, etc) must be seen. NO PHOTOSHOP (ie, the sample above would be disqualified)--you actually need to bring something Santa-ish to the field so your UAV can capture it in its shots (yes, I know it will be very small. Just circle the location in your image so we can enlarge and inspect--don't make us do "Where's Wally"!) This is to prove that the shots aren't actually taken from Google Earth ;-) You can use any path strategy you want: "lawnmower", spiral, concentric circles, etc... For stitching software, I use the free PTGui, but you're welcome to use whatever software you prefer. And for your camera, may I suggest you hack up some cool way to trigger the shutter with our cool ServoSwitch? KML tracks must be provided. Video is not required, but is suggested. We've now switched to a six-week cycle, so the deadline is 12:00 midnight PST on Sunday, January 17, 2010 now Monday, January 18th due to the Martin Luther King holiday in the US. The overall winner will be the best quality image, as decided by the judges (based on a combination of resolution, stitch quality and overall coolness--a clever Santa will win you brownie points, and a pretty area is no bad thing [note: snow is lovely, but be warned that it can confuse stitching software]), but everyone who completes the challenge will win a prize. Enjoy!
E-mail me when people leave their comments –

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

Join diydrones


  • hmm, danstrider's link to pic did not work for me ( got 404 error). Pocking through the site i found this - Direct link to Joe & co image:
  • Wanted to add some more info that may be of interest to some of you!

    R/C Link: Spektrum AR9000+2 external receivers, JR10SXII+air module
    Safety Switch: RxMux-http://www.acroname.com/robotics/parts/R306-RXMUX.html
    Backup R/C Link: Piccolo 900 Mhz R/C Transmitter
    Magnetometer: HMR2300

    Wireless Link: 5.8Ghz Ubiquiti XR5: http://www.ubnt.com/products/xr5.php
    Antenna: High gain auto-tracking patch antenna.

    The data pushed was more in the 2GB range, and not pushed during the flight (the system is capable, some software issues were plaguing the system).

    For more info, flight videos (sorry, not on board, we are out of space and wireless channels!) and a recap of the days events, check out: http://art1.mae.ncsu.edu/twiki/bin/view/Main/WebHome

    *Flight test results will be posted on the wiki shortly*
  • Clarification:
    The image that I attached is a single photo from the camera. No stitching or distortion correction has been done. I'll make sure to use the right options to display full resolution in the future. In the meantime, you can still view the full resolution by using Dan's link or by right-clicking on the attached photo and saving it off.
  • Chris,

    Is there a picture max for PTGUI software?
  • Joe,
    very nice! In order for everyone to see full resolution picture you should change settings when posting it to the forum ( right now it's a big thumbnail) - select the option for full red pic to open in a neew window
  • Here is our team photo from our flight test. Our Santa was to use ourselves to spell out "SANTA!". (I was the exclamation point.) The blue dot next to the runway is our safety pilot who, for obvious reasons, could not be included. You can also see four targets laid out to the right of the runway which we were using to test our resolution. Behind the safety pilot is our trailer which houses our computers, moves our equipment to the field, and (somewhat) shelters us from the elements. The picture is 10 Megapixels, so you can keep zooming in.

  • Today I was flying with the NC State Aerial Robotics Club. It was overcast and freezing cold. We were able to fly the T3-4 course with some amazing results. It will be a little while before I can post the full results due to the 4 Gigabytes of data produced during our runs. In the meantime enjoy some details:

    Aircraft: ArcWulf - Modified 8 Foot Telemaster
    Camera: Nikon D60 - 10 MP
    Camera Software: In-House Variant of libptp2/commSDK
    Gimbal: "The Ghimbler" In-house
    Flight Computer: Dual-Core Atom Motherboard with 1 Watt Ubiquiti wifi connection
    Autopilot: Piccolo LT w/ magnetometer
    Flight Planning Software: Piccolo Command Center - Lawn Mower Pattern
    Take-off/Landing: Manual
    Stitching Software: To Be Determined

    Flight Crew:
    Joseph Moster
    Sam Carter
    Dan Edwards
    Matt Hazard
    John Freeze
    William Stewart
    Robert Armes
    Alex Manasa
  • Gary, I feel very ashamed of myself and will work hard to improve, (even if it probably allready is too late vs. Santa this year. I expect no presents). Only thing I can say to my defence is those green monsters grow like weeds in this area, apparently no spot free of them. After paper-prices fell worldwide, nobody seemes to bother with chopping them down, and forest-fires are almost out of the question due to wet climate. (One tree to Trafalgar Square each year don't help much, but thanks for helping anyway).

    PS. Santa does not live in Norway anymore. He has been hijacked and is now kept hostage in Finland: http://www.santaclausvillage.info/eng/main.htm
  • The link on the main page needs updating Chris :)
This reply was deleted.