Under Request for proposal No. K4E21-130308 (Survey Grade Unmanned Aerial System) and contract No. K4E21-130308/001/WPG, the Government of Canada and the Metrological Service of Canada (MSC) of Environment Canada (EC) chose the Aeromapper UAV system over other systems, to be used for fine resolution mapping of saturated areas and variable streamflow contributing areas in support of streamflow and nutrient flux measurements. The vehicle will be deployed in remote areas of Canada over rough terrain and without road access.
The UAV delivered on March 2014 included flight planning software, ground control hardware, image processing software (Agisoft Photoscan Pro) and flight and system training.
The Aeromapper UAV delivered also included its standard Sony NEX 5 16 Mp camera with a 15mm Voigtlander lens, and was also customized to host a Tetracam mini-MCA 4, with switchable camera mounts for these two cameras. The Tetracam Mini-MCA 4 is a “Multiple Camera Array” which has 4 multiespectral cameras on one.
The Aeromapper UAV is a fully composites, survey grade UAV delivered ready to fly. It can be customized with different cameras according to client’s requirements. It flies autonomously with several different flight modes also available. Includes a parachute recovery system, long range 2-way telemetry and control system (+20Kms), and has been sold in 19 countries.
The training portion of the contract was successfully completed by ING Robotic Aviation, based in Ottawa, Ontario. ING Robotic Aviation was responsible for training 3 students from Environment Canada and the University of New Brunswick Edmundston on the Aeromapper UAV. The students from research areas including hydrology and forestry were interested in learning about capturing high quality aerial imagery from a low altitude, lightweight robotic aircraft system. The 3-day training program focused on the fundamentals of the aircraft, including the hardware, flight planning software, and camera systems. As well as the students learned the regulations governing the use of UAVs in Canada (Special Flight Operations Certificates) and other various considerations relating to operations.
The trainers from ING Robotic Aviation included Peter Merkel and Dominque Chabot. Merkel, who has been with the company for over 3 years, has over 30 years of extensive experience through his previously held positions including a private pilot and licensed air traffic controller. Currently, while not training students, Merkel is responsible for all flight operations for ING Robotic Aviation. Dominque Chabot, a new employee of the company, brings a specialized academic experience in the application of robotic aircraft for wildlife and environmental research and management. Chabot excels in theoretical knowledge of UAVs, which is proven by the recent completion of his Ph.D. on using small unmanned aircrafts for measuring habitat quality.
More information about the Aeromapper UAV can be found at http://aeromao.com/aeromapper_uav.