Home > GIS, Photography, remote sensing > Aerial Photography with RC Planes

Aerial Photography with RC Planes

EasyStarA few months ago I became intrigued with the concept of obtaining aerial photography utilizing RC planes for GIS applications. After reading the RC forums and different websites I purchased an EasyStar RC plane. I bought the ready to fly (RTF) kit, a couple of Pentax cameras w/cracked LCDs (I was going to replace the cracked LCDs later), an IR switch to trigger the shutter and an alarm in case I lost radio contact with the plane. I also picked up a couple of RC simulators, FS One and FMS.

Flying the plane was a lot harder than it looked and I started to have issues with my plane. The motor would cut out after a few minutes. I received some help from the people at the local RC airfield and we ruled out a number of issues, the problem was with either the engine or the speed control. Unfortunately I had spent most of my money getting the initial equipment and did not have any spare spending money to buy the needed replacement parts. Not mention school quickly overcame what little free time I had for the hobby.

However, this semester I am taking “Remote Sensing for the Geospatial Intelligence Professional” and I am toying with getting back into the hobby. Chris Anderson’s “DIY Drones” site has a few posts on how to upgrade the EasyStarto become a viable remote sensing platform. I also recently found a program that allows Canon cameras to take unlimited timed-interval picture series with only one shutter activation. I do not have a Canon but that seems like a better solution than using an IR switch to get three picture bursts.

For only a couple hundred dollars I can do this . . . now to convince the wife that this is a school expense.

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  1. September 6, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Hello! I have always been interested in cartography, electronics (namely PIC’s and microcontrollers), photography and aviation. I received my private pilots license, bought a Basic Stamp II that I haven’t gotten around to using, bought a Nikon dSLR and a Cannon point and shoot (with the linux install on it; CDHK, I think). Now, I’ve enrolled in a GIS class and want to put it all together. I would be VERY interested to hear how you are getting on with your development. Time and money constrain my developing my own system, but I definitely intend to relatively soon. I have a friend that manages about 3,500 acres of land and I would love to get a detailed map of it in a GIS. I was thinking of using this (http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/08/27/1734224.shtml) for depth, but I’m not sure if the distance would work… you’d need a SUPER flash and/or a low flying aircraft. Please keep me informed! Thanks!

  2. Duane
    September 18, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    I am also looking in to the same type of thing and i have come with alot of idears but i think finance is going to be the problem i have a numder of RC planes and a RC helicopter but the big thing is to put everything together and make it work

  3. March 13, 2010 at 2:46 am

    I was going to start an aerial photography business but then i got advised not to because it’s very hard to get an adequate amoutn of business.

  1. June 22, 2008 at 5:03 pm

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