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.


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3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 10, 2010 at 1:54pm

Looks great! Is that EasyUAV again?
Comment by brakar on January 10, 2010 at 3:27pm
Thanks for the comment Chris,

Yes it was EasyUAV, as last time:
- Plane: EasyUAV/ FlexiPilot
- Camera: Canon Ixus 980 IS, (with CHDK installed, running script for remote trigging)
- Trigger: 5V current from Flexipilot to camera
- Picktures, In total 155, one shot each 40m, 14.7Mpix, (in tocal about 787MB)
- Radio: Futaba 7C
- GS, wireless link etc: not present
Comment by brakar on January 10, 2010 at 4:26pm
And finally, link to a short video clip:

Strange thing; the whole video was about 30minutes and 660MB. When I exported a short 1min clip in reduced quality it ended up at 275MB !

Comment by icebear on January 11, 2010 at 12:08pm
Nice competition and a good try brakar!
Hope it gets a little milder here soon so I can get back in the air again...
I will have a new UAV for the 2010 season...

Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on January 11, 2010 at 12:13pm
"When I exported a short 1min clip in reduced quality it ended up at 275MB !"
Reduced quality is always costly ;-)
Comment by brakar on January 12, 2010 at 1:37pm
I could not help myself for making one more attempt. About the same track as last time, but take-off was on the far side. This time I had no problems with the zoom and got 153 beautiful picktures - wich stitched quite well in PTGui, (no need for adding extra control points). Just a few distortions and missing areas in the finished stitch. I did also try the MS ICE freeware (thanks for hint Gary) for stitching. Stitched very easily, but output-file was 550MB TIFF, which I don't have software to reduce.

KML: trace.txt.trace001.kml

Here is a reduced PTGui panorama. The original file is close to 28MB, so I will wait with uploading until see if I can make a geo-referenced to GoogleEarth.

Comment by brakar on January 12, 2010 at 2:18pm
By second thought, here is the whole stitch, don't know if I will have time to finish it due to work/travel activities. There was not anything in the rules saying it should be linked to GE I think


Comment by brakar on January 12, 2010 at 2:35pm
Original picture (proof of concept), it is in the stitch as well

And kmz-file for geo-ref. in GoogleEarth, (big thanks to Krzysztof): AskerMap.kmz

Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on January 12, 2010 at 7:20pm
This is my preliminary entry using EasyUAV:
the battery died too fast and the plane automatically returned home (miscalculated battery state, making too many flight pattern tests earlier, without the camera).
Used Microsoft ICE without effort as the photos were almost perfectly aligned.
This post is scanning only half of the surface and there is no Santa Claus around, so formally insufficient but IMO worth sharing. Made Dec 27th last year, just after the snow has melted.

Comment by Brian Wolfe on January 12, 2010 at 9:03pm
My old AXN Floater airframe was getting pretty beat up and I was having some radio problems so I decided to build up a fresh floater and install a 2.4 GHz radio system. here is a test run that was supposed to also include images, but when I got out to the field I realized I had the wrong firmware loaded (no trigger function). So this was a test run of a new airframe, new radio and new cross track code. Overall things went pretty well. We have some weather moving in, but I hope t get out in the next day or two and repeat the run with the camera on board.

T3-4 Test1.kml KML File



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