I guess this is why they call it research

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Starting off, this week has been spent reading and studying up on the current tech thats useful for us. The pun is fully intended in the title of this as this is maybe the 5th time I’ve had to look at all the new technology and advances made (damn you Moore’s law).
Looking into a more advanced LiDAR system had me sifting through nearly all viable models that fit our budget. Sample rate, beam power, light shielding, and mass were a few of the deciding factors that went into looking at different models.

  • A high sample rate allows for the LiDAR to be traveling faster and not suffer a loss of resolution.
  • The power output of the laser beam itself is important to get greater distant, our original system only had a usable distance of ~1.5m above the ground in broad daylight.
  • light shielding, though it can be added later, is best done built in as close to the laser output as possible. The shield itself allows through only the recognisable light of the laser receiver and blocks out as much UV light as possible.
  • Because the goal is to have the LiDAR mounted on the UAS mass needs to be taking into consideration.

After making up a list and handing it over to Charlie to look over he submitted it to the scientific equipment fund.

I also took the time this week to put together a new abstract for our research. Since first starting on the research our knowledge and capabilities have expanded drastically and I felt our abstract should reflect this. As of today we submitted to be a part of the Earlham College “Natural Sciences Division Undergraduate Research Poster Conference.”

May Term, LiDAR

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Most of my time of late has been spent working on the Icelandic Field Studies May Term proposal. It’s overdue. Nic and I have been talking about LiDAR, we continue to think this is a promising technique to use at Skalanes.

Back into the swing of things

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Now a few weeks into the new semester its time to stop procrastinating and get back to work!

Ive started off by essentially doing what seems like mass updating of hardware, software, firmware, etc. The DJI drone system and ground control software both had to be brought up to date. Initially there were a lot of errors in getting them talking to one another again but as of Wednesday this week they are fully happy and working properly. I’ve also taken the chance to update the plug-ins and various parts of the website. Ive also made accounts on the blog for Vitalii and Niraj who will be joining us by working on some of the back end coding.

In an effort to stream line our massive photo cache I’ve copied all photos onto our media server here on campus to allow us to situate things. After talking with Charlie and Erin we have decided to sort initially by day and then by capture device. This means though that we have to map all photos to their correct day which has proved to be more difficult then I thought… If the EXIF data on the images doesn’t contain a date – the date is just set to be the most recent “creation date” which means when I copied them. Thats left me and Erin with a whole lot of images that need to be sorted and sifted by hand still. Im also still finding places where images are stored, such as the google drive, etc, and have been working on getting all of those to the server as well. Its sort of like a ┬ábig game of cat and mouse and is tedious at best.

With Niraja and Vitalii joining us I have also been doing my best in catching them up to speed on all the projects and details there in. Much of this involves working with the UAV images and how to post process them. Much of this is trying it out on proprietary software and then figuring out to best do it in large batches and with open source programs. Ive most recently been trying to figure out if its possible to get a 3D topographic image without needing to apply a LIDAR point cloud layer. While not as accurate it would certainly be quick and would be used more as an approximation.

As time becomes available, Ive also started going through all the video footage that we have saved and started to throw together a very (VERY) rough storyboard for the documentary. Im hoping to have a solid chunk of time this weekend to work on this a bit more. Really I’m just focused on getting some generic shots worked together so that we can use them as filler for voice over and context.

As things move along I’ll keep posting! Cheers!

And we are off, again…

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The new academic season has started and the field science/studies group is getting underway. After our work in Iceland this past summer (see the blog, pictures, playlist, etc.) we have a bunch of data to organize and analyze with various toolchains. Working on this now are Craig, Nic, Erin, Niraj, and Vitalii. Kristin and I are also working on Android and platform development together. At some point they will make posts describing what they are working on, maybe even updated regularly… Most of my time so far this fall has been spent on the field studies/May Term proposal, helping Vitalii and Niraj get started, and tomorrow I’m going to put on-off switches on a couple of ambiance platforms so they are easier to work with. I still can’t fathom how we didn’t have those from the get-go.