First authorized UAV flight in a urban environment in Italy !

The recent technological development of mini-UAV systems opened large new opportunities for both surveyors and other Geomatic professionals in the fields of photogrammetry and remote sensing. In past in fact, these fields have been generally restricted to only a few companies or government agencies with expensive cutting-edge technical equipment (aircrafts, satellites, high resolution multispectral cameras, etc), and therefore only interested substantially funded projects.

At the same time, the use of mini-UAVs in Geomatics evidenced significant new challenges such as the limited payload, the need for calibration of the non-metric cameras and the automatic flight planning based on Waypoint Navigation Systems.

Moreover, further issues such as the definition of all geometric constraints of the stereoscopic photogrammetry and additional options for the flight, the navigation controls and the management of the on-board sensors have been added to the already complex legal issues related to safety and bureaucracy.

Case Study : Basilica S.M. di Collemaggio , L’Aquila (Italy)

ANTEOS RPA of the Italian AERMATICA is the only one UAV that obtained the permission to fly in not segregated airspace from the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC).

Thanks to this extremely important result, AERMATICA and GEOMATICA_LAB from the University of L’Aquila – leaded by its Chief Scientist Prof. Donatella Dominici – agreed a collaboration regarding photogrammetric surveys. The first survey has been of one of the most important churches damaged during last earthquake: the Basilica di S.M. di Collemaggio (Unesco Heritage).

The purpose of this first activity is to elaborate and up-to-date data base about the status of this Basilica that will be used to properly plan any eventual structural interventions whenever needed.

In particular, the aim of this study is to create a three dimensional models of both the building and its roofs using photogrammetric dedicated techniques. All surveyed data will therefore be used to create a database with metric and cartographic qualities. This database will be interrogated using ad-Hoc created algorithms and queries under GIS applications in order to disseminate already elaborated data with web-GIS platforms. Moreover integrating optical and thermal sensors also a georeferenced thermal model containing structural information will be created and divulgated under the same GIS applications.

Therefore for the first time in Italian UAV compliant with ENAC regulations ANTEOS RPA is the name of the AERMATICA UAV – can be used in an urban environment for specialized aerial work tasks

The laboratory: GEOMATICA_LAB

The laboratory GEOLAB, started by Donatella Dominici, associated professor of topography and cartography at the engineering faculty of L’Aquila University, is focused on collection and continuously analyzing satellite data, in order to study the movements of the Earth’s crust, both through high resolution satellite imagines and traditional and innovative (UAV) topographic survey.

It proposes itself as a permanent center for the research, the diffusion and the comparison of the data relevant to the study and the evaluation of seismic phenomena.