Report of the seminar Drones for research – observing the world in 3D from a Lidar-UAV

Published on
December 19, 2016

On Monday December 12th 2016 a well visited, lively seminar on the new Lidar UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was presented by Lammert Kooistra, Sander Mücher and Harm Bartolemeus from the Wageningen University & Research Laboratorium voor Geo-informatiekunde en Remote Sensing. The stage was filled with the new large Lidar UAV and other drones, complemented with sensors and accompanying operation equipment.

Shared Research Facilities (CAT-AgroFood) recently purchased this instruments and provides access to these new facility to researchers of WUR, as well as to researchers from companies and other knowledge institutes. The technical details, results and future applications of the Lidar UAV were outlined for a diverse audience. The visitors were originating from a great variety of different companies, and from Dutch universities and international research institutes. The seminar presented the results and future applications of research in the field of agriculture, forestry and wildlife management. The large Lidar UAV is equipped with detectors sensitive enough to detect not only single trees in the woods, but the roaming elephant as well.

After the welcome and short general introduction by Petra Caessens of Shared Research Facilities, Lammert Kooistra started with the first lecture on the new 3D remote sensing facillties provided by the Lidar UAV. Drones, which can fly below the clouds, can fill the scaling gap between monitoring in situ (by foot) on the one hand, and monitoring by airplane or satellite on the other. Drones offer the possibility of faster, cheaper collection of data of high quality and accuracy.

Sander Müncher continued outlining the technical details, physical properties and flight characteristics of the Lidar UAV and its sensors. The processes of vegetation structure and plant phenotype monitoring, by processing of point clouds into 3D products, were outlined in detail.

The final lecture of Harm Bartlomeus presented the 3d Analysis and Visualization processes and procedures for forest research. By using different laser scanning procedures, different parameters can be extracted from the data collected.

A live demonstration of the large new drone was not possible for safety reasons; a video offered an impressive, near-live experience of flying drones.

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