TerraLuma at Dronefest

TerraLuma attended the local Dronefest at Lauderdale, Tasmania last weekend to show the public what UAS are used for in research.

“Dronefest 2016 celebrates the last five years in which the “drone industry” in Tasmania has expanded rapidly as many industries find drones are effectively work horses in the sky, and potentially underground. (…) A survey conducted in August 2016 by the Rotary Club of Bellerive of employment in the “drone industry” in Tasmania has indicated that in the last five years the industry has grown from a few full time equivalents (FTE) to about 55 FTE today.  Moreover a number of companies have indicated they are expecting to expand their drone-based workforce in the next 12 months.” (Source: Dronefest website).

Check their facebook page for more photos and videos.

TerraLuma members from left to right: Juliane Bendig, Deepak Gautam, Darren Turner, Faheem Iqbal and Steve Harwin (taking the photo)

TerraLuma members from left to right: Juliane Bendig, Deepak Gautam, Darren Turner, Faheem Iqbal and Steve Harwin (taking the photo)



Our PhD students learn how to fly

Three of our PhD students (Deepak Gautam, Faheem Iqbal and Gustavo Togeiro de Alckmin) improved their skills in the operation of UAVs at a workshop hosted by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) last week.

TIA hosted the remote pilot workshop by Aerial Hotshots at UTAS’ Forthside Vegetable Research Facility. The workshop aimed to build capacity within the Tasmanian agriculture industry around the operation of drones. More information here and here.

TIA remote pilot workshop

TIA remote pilot workshop


Terraluma on the road – UAV Workshop in Fowler’s Gap (NSW)

From 13 – 15 September 2016, Arko Lucieer, Darren Turner, and Juliane Bendig attended a 3-day UAV workshop at Fowler’s Gap in northeast NSW. The objectives of the workshop were to:

  • assess the role of UAVs in rangeland applications
  • compare UAV platforms and data processing
  • generate a baseline dataset for Fowlers Gaps rangelands
  • establish a framework for regular meetings in the future
  • generate a comprehensive dataset for school and university education (Source: http://fowlersgap.uas4rs.org.au/)

We packed nearly all of our equipment and tested most of it during three days of fieldwork. Among the collected datasets are RGB, multispectral , hyperspectral, thermal and LiDAR data.



New Platforms and sensors

Currently, new UAS platforms and sensors are released at an impressive pace. Especially small, lightweight cameras and easy-to-use, out-of-the-box UAS platforms are among the key innovations. Our 3DR Solo quadcopters are part of these new generation platforms and have proven great reliability. They also carry two exciting new sensors: the Parrot Sequoia multispectral camera and the FLIR Vue™ Pro R thermal camera.

Sequoia multispectral image aquired at Fowler’s Gap Research Site (NSW)

The Parrot Sequoia has the size and weight similar to a GoPro but comes with four spectral cameras (green, red, red-edge, and NIR), an RGB camera, GPS/IMU, and an irradiance sensor. The FLIR Vue™ Pro R has a handy live view feature and saves calibrated temperature data with each image pixel. Both sensors are promising tools for our vegetation studies. The images shown were aquired during a UAV Workshop in Fowler’s Gap (NSW).

FLIR Vue Pro R orthomosaic

FLIR Vue Pro R orthomosaic aquired at Fowler’s Gap Research Site (NSW)

Our latest addition on platforms, the DJI Matrice, is designed for carrying heavier sensor payloads up to 6kg. It will carry our more complex sensor systems such as the LiDAR, the hyperspectral push broom scanner, and the highly sensitive spectroradiometer. The Matrice’s maiden flight went well.

Drones in a Cold Climate

Dr Guy Williams recently published a paper on “Drones in a Cold Climate” for EOS Magazine, describing some of the challenges of operating UAS in polar conditions. His photo of a DJI S1000 over pancake ice in the Southern Ocean made it on the front cover. The article can be found here.