Testing Pix4Dmapper for UAV-based 3D Modeling

The Department of Geosciences at Mansfield University recently approved the purchase of Pix4Dmapper, a software that renders 3D models photogrammetrically through a proprietary algorithm. What this means is that Pix4D can assemble an array of aerial images from a UAV to create a three-dimensional representation of the landscape photographed. This option is significantly cheaper and more accessible than using LiDAR or other 3D remote sensing technologies, and according to the DJI specs, should be nearly as accurate.  And happily, Pix4D also has a dedicated smartphone app that fully integrates with our DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ UAV, providing coverage assistance to the pilot, or offering fully automatic piloting specifically for mapping purposes. Continue reading “Testing Pix4Dmapper for UAV-based 3D Modeling”

3D Printing a Topo Map of Tioga County, Attempt One

Recently, I’ve been working with several MU Geosciences students to refine the method we’ve developed for 3D printing topographic maps from DEM files.  While printing topography isn’t necessarily new in and of itself, we wanted to create a method that we could publish for wide use, and wanted to ensure that the method is cartographically sound as well.  To fully refine the method, we’ve been experimenting with various aspects of 3D printing maps.  The first, after our proof-of-concept model that included only topography at 1:24,000 scale, was to print a complete map of Tioga County. Continue reading “3D Printing a Topo Map of Tioga County, Attempt One”

Drones and Society: A Presentation to the 2014 PA Digital Government Summit

On Friday, December 5, MU colleague Lee Stocks and I were honored to give an invited presentation to the 2014 Pennsylvania Digital Government Summit in Harrisburg.

Here are the slides from that presentation. Continue reading “Drones and Society: A Presentation to the 2014 PA Digital Government Summit”

OU Presentation on UAVs

This week, I was honored and privileged to give a couple of presentations to students and faculty in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. This is a presentation on using UAVs for mapping applications that I delivered to a remote sensing class on Tuesday.

Continue reading “OU Presentation on UAVs”

COPLAC 2014 URC Conference Posters

Three Mansfield University Geoscience undergraduate students presented their research at the COPLAC Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference this past weekend at Keene State College in Keene, NH. I was the co-adviser of two of these projects, along with my colleague Lee Stocks. Continue reading “COPLAC 2014 URC Conference Posters”

Cave Densities in WV – Applied Geography Presentation

Here are the slides from the talk I co-presented with my Mansfield University colleague Lee Stocks at the 2014 Applied Geography Conference in Atlanta this past Thursday.

The presentation resulted in our paper being published in Papers in Applied Geography, volume 37. Continue reading “Cave Densities in WV – Applied Geography Presentation”

Resolution and Coverage Testing for Phantom 2 Vision+ UAV Imagery for Mapping

A few days back, I sent up our new DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ above the Mansfield football stadium for some imagery testing, and published a blog on doing lens corrections for mapping. Now, I’m going to take those corrected images to the next step and test their resolution and coverage to see how effective this equipment is for providing high-quality, high-resolution and low-cost remote sensing imagery for mapping applications. In a future post, I’ll be looking at how much distortion remained in the imagery after the lens correction process.

Continue reading “Resolution and Coverage Testing for Phantom 2 Vision+ UAV Imagery for Mapping”

Lens Correction on DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ for Mapping

The new prevalence and inexpensive nature of UAVs has given cartographers and spatial scientists a great new tool for creating extremely high-resolution (both spatial and temporal) maps of places. At Mansfield, we’ve got several platforms that we’re using — the latest acquisition is the midrange “prosumer” UAV, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+. At less than $1,200 for a pretty incredible array of features, it’s a pretty good bargain (at least in the realm of scientific equipment, which generally has the same mark-up as illicit drugs) and a great place to start if you’re wanting to experiment with UAV mapping. Continue reading “Lens Correction on DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ for Mapping”

Fun with Maps: Resolution Test GIF

I took the Phantom 2 Vision+ out to do some resolution and lens correction testing this morning. Part of this required using the football field on campus, since it provides some nice measured straight-line geometry that can be used to gauge the resolution and correction to ensure accuracy. Continue reading “Fun with Maps: Resolution Test GIF”

Mapping Biomes for the Plaid Avenger: Adventures in Georectifying and Symbology

This summer, I’ve been enjoying doing some work for the Plaid Avenger, especially creating new maps for his next edition of The Plaid Avenger’s World, an excellent alternative textbook for world geography courses. Some of that work, particularly mapping biomes, has proven to be a bit of an adventure.

Continue reading “Mapping Biomes for the Plaid Avenger: Adventures in Georectifying and Symbology”

My alt.conf talk: The Age of Cartographic Impressionism

I actually did finish this around six hours ago, but… I can’t sleep.  So, I’m going to go ahead and post my first AAG talk here, a lightning session for the GeoWeb and Big Data alt.conf I helped to organize. Continue reading “My alt.conf talk: The Age of Cartographic Impressionism”