Reader's Choice: UAV Offers Big Impact in a Small Package

December 1, 2010
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In POB’s November issue, we published information on a number of new technologies highlighted at INTERGEO 2010 and asked our readers to select the one they believed would have the most impact on the surveying and mapping professions. 

In POB’s November issue, we published information on a number of new technologies highlighted at INTERGEO 2010 and asked our readers to select the one they believed would have the most impact on the surveying and mapping professions.

The results are in. Out of a total of 697 votes, the Gatewing X100 Unmanned Airborne Vehicle is the winner with 48 percent of the votes, and the Leica Viva TS15 Robotic Imaging Total Station is the runner-up with 42 percent of the votes.

Below is a summary of the two technologies, including a new demo video showing the Gatewing X100 in action.

Gatewing X100 Unmanned Airborne Vehicle

The Gatewing X100 is an ultralight unmanned airborne vehicle for small site photogrammetry and mapping. It was engineered with a specific twofold focus: To carry a camera payload in a straight and regular scan pattern and bring it back to the operator in a safe and shock-free manner regardless of the weather and environmental conditions, and to allow for day-to-day handling and intensive usage, just like any other surveying equipment. Through its optimized aerodynamic design, cleverly engineered body structure, and carefully chosen materials, the X100 fulfills these requirements. The user maps the positions of the corners with the supplied GPS unit, then determines where the unit will land. This information is uploaded into the X100 together with weather data and the desired scale, and the system computes the optimum flight tracks. Once airborne, the X100 automatically reaches the correct altitude and takes images while simultaneously recording the GPS coordinates of each exposure station. After the photo mission is complete, the X100 automatically lands on the designated landing area. Images and flight data are then downloaded and processed to create photomosaics, orthophotos or digital terrain models as desired. The vehicle is sold as part of a complete mapping kit that consists of all necessary equipment, tools and spare parts to guarantee a flawless and continuous operation, including the Gatewing X100 UAV, Gatewing X100 spare body wing, rugged top-end ground control station with state of the art mission software, lightweight catapult launcher for automatic take-off, integrated radio equipment for communication with the UAV, camera, two high-capacity custom batteries, and optional battery charger, tools and patches, and a rugged carrying case.

Leica Viva TS15 Robotic Imaging Total Station

Leica Viva TS15 Robotic Imaging Total Station  The Leica Viva TS15 provides advanced imaging functionality combined with dynamic tracking capabilities for one-person surveying. Traditional robotic operation is significantly improved with imaging features through image-assisted surveying and photo-documentation. Thanks to live streaming of the total station view on the robotic controller, remote points can be easily measured with the new tap, turn and measure functionality without returning to the total station. With the new Image Capture functionality, users can take high-resolution images of the surveying scene or even capture any screen shown on the display at the push of a button. The exact photo documentation of site conditions helps to further optimize productivity and to minimize paper field notes and avoid costly revisits. Any new or captured image can be enhanced through sketching with any color, line style and width to enhance the value of the image. After capturing and sketching, the annotated images can be linked to any object of interest (point, line, area) or simply stored with a time stamp. The Leica TS15 also includes new grid scanning functionality. Users can graphically define an area to be scanned on the total station view shown on the display. The total station will then rapidly scan the object to measure a true grid with survey accuracy. The Leica Viva TS15 incorporates Leica SmartWorx Viva onboard software to fully harmonize Leica Viva CS10 and CS15 controllers and the Viva TS15 total station on one easy-to-use productive software platform. Users can add full GNSS functionality to the Leica Viva TS15 total station to further improve productivity. The TS15 can be used as a Leica SmartStation for TPS setup without the need of control points, traverses and resections, or as a Leica SmartPole to save time with setup “on-the-fly” and measure parallel with TPS and GNSS for double productivity.

What do you think? Do you agree with the poll results? What do you think the “impact factor” of these technologies will be? Please share your comments below?

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