Linked Corridor and Area Flight Plans in a Single Mission; User-Defined DEM for Flight Altitude

07-14-2020 11:44 AM
Status: Open
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New Contributor II

Jeremiah Johnson‌ - tagging you here since I can't find Brian Connolly who I spoke with at the Esri UC.

Certain sensors, such as UAV-mounted LiDAR units, require specialized calibration legs to be flown before the drone enters an area scan or crosshatch survey. Using LiDAR as an example, a boresight calibration must be conducted at the beginning of each flight to enable the built-in IMU of the sensor to find itself and get a fixed GPS location. Typically, this boresight calibration is a linear flight path following an "S" curve - the drone needs to fly perpendicular to multiple 90-degree angles (buildings, cars, etc.) to enable the best calibration in post-processing, and this should be done outside of the site survey area so that these points can be easily excluded in post-processing. Once the "S" curve (linear flight plan) is complete, the drone is ready to enter the survey area. 

I propose enabling linked linear/corridor flight plans with area and crosshatch flight plans in a single mission, such that the drone could seamlessly transition from the linear calibration leg to the site survey within the same flight. In the case of LiDAR, the flight planning and settings of the LiDAR unit is handled by manufacturer provided software prior to the flight, but this functionality would greatly increase efficiency and decrease the need for manual manipulation in order to successfully conduct LiDAR UAV surveys. 

Allowing the user to define a DEM, say from a prior LiDAR survey, as the elevation surface used to determine the drone's in-flight altitude would also be extremely valuable, particularly for LiDAR flights in high surface relief areas where it is difficult to maintain a consistent vertical distance for the laser(e.g, 50 meters).

1 Comment

Sarah Ostertag‌ thanks for the ideas!

This looks like two ideas.

The first one is a great point. And something we should consider once we start supporting lidar payloads with Site Scan for ArcGIS.

The second is something that we've had requested before, and are taking steps towards an accurate terrain following functionality. Keep an eye out later this year for some feature updates in this space!