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Altavian Blog

Why You Should Use DSLR Instead of Point-and-Shoot Cameras, Part I

Payload design at Altavian is always a fun challenge. We aim for the bullseye of utility, product quality, and value. In short, we want to build payloads people will use, that won’t break, and are cost-effective. This involves everything from component selection for things we don’t directly manufacture to the convergence of efforts on the mechanical, electrical, and software fronts. For mapping payloads, the single most important choice we can make is which camera and lens to use.

But, how do we classify cameras?

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The Fallacy of a "One-Button" Survey

There’s a lot of hype surrounding drones in surveying and mapping. The potential is evident, but the hype is unchecked. Too often, drone capabilities are portrayed as quick, easy “one-button” survey solutions for collecting data. This fails to represent how drones in surveying can truly generate value for surveyors.

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Inspecting Damage at Deerhaven Power Plant

Altavian recently seized a rare opportunity to work with a local utilities provider, while conducting research and development at the same time. Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) contacted Altavian about having drones assess damage suffered at one of their power plants. GRU did not want to risk workers surveying a structural integrity issue on a pollution control structure.

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Mapping Extreme Topography in Death Valley

A larger company subcontracted Altavian to survey at historical Ryan Camp in Death Valley. The company had reservations about being able to collect data in the steep crevices and on the huge rock faces. Even just flying the rugged, desert location would be a challenge.

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Why Altavian Doesn't Use Lidar Systems--Yet

Altavian is often asked when—and—if we will be offering a Lidar payload. The new era of mapping has brought a flood of professionals who speak, eat, and breathe Lidar (or more technically: point clouds). But, is Lidar the appropriate technology? Or are we all just to use point clouds and photogrammetrically derived models to fit the bill? In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of deploying a Lidar system for an sUAS, and give some insight into our upcoming path.

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Mapping 25 Square Miles of the Pearl River

Funded by the NOAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program, MSU was faced with the monumental task of monitoring 25 square miles of the delta of the Pearl River. To accomplish this task, MSU contacted Altavian about collecting multispectral imagery by using drones.

MSU’s research required aerial mapping of the waterways in order to:

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Pit Mapping with PPK GPS

One of our latest projects and the subject at hand, is producing highly accurate topographic maps for pit mining. Our project includes a 70-acre pit with approximately 100 feet of relief. Our client tasked us with calculating the volume of dirt that was removed from the original surface. Keep in mind this project has been going on for years.

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What is CIR Imagery and what is it used for?

To understand CIR imagery you first must understand what we can and cannot see with our eyes. The human eye can see high-frequency electromagnetic radiation (a.k.a. light) from only a very small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. To ‘see’ beyond this range, we need instruments and cameras that can detect and then translate invisible radiation into the familiar colors of the rainbow. Color-infrared (CIR) imagery uses a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum known as near infrared (NIR) that lies just beyond the visible wavelengths for the color red.

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