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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Radio-Controlled Model Aircraft As An Inexpensive and Effective Platform for Remote Sensing

item Hunt, Earle

Submitted to: Ag Showcase Science and Technology Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 4, 2001
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Remote sensing can provide effective data for farm and environmental management. Applications using satellite data have had the most development, however satellite data are limited by cloud cover during the growing season. Aircraft can be flown under clouds, however data acquisition tends to be expensive. Radio-controlled model aircraft is a popular hobby; we examined the use of fixed-wing aircraft for crop management. As proof of concept we attached a simple automatic camera to the fuselage bottom to take pictures using color infrared film. The camera was protected by a yellow cellophane cover, which also served as the yellow filter for the color infrared pictures. By flying at about 130 m above the ground we could get about 40% overlap between successive pictures, each with a spatial resolution of 20 cm. We obtained images of two fields, one for weed detection and one for nitrogen management. Further plans include attaching radiometers with a light-weight asset tracking unit (global positioning system receiver).

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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