Research

Some of the latest work of the UASRP. For more project details, click on the attached Mission Reports (if available).                                                          

FDOT Bridge Inspections

In order to demonstrate the capabilities of UAS for urban structures inspections, the UASRP is conducting a series of 8 bridge inspections on various Florida roadways. These inspections are being done with qualified inspectors in order to compare and contrast the quality of data from the UAS with the standard inspection procedures. (Febuary 2017 -  Ongoing)

 

Forest Resource and Information Systems Class Demo

Dr. Fox's Forest Resource and Informations Systems summer course recently had a lecture on the applications of aerial photography. In order to show the class the power of UAS in a Forest Environment, we 3D reconstructed the Natural Area Teaching Lab on campus and allowed the students to see the postprocessed data. A mission report and data quality analysis report were generated for the class to see. (July 13th, 2017)

GIS Class Drone

 

Taylor County Pilot Study

As part of a larger project to help quantify recreational bay scallop fishery efforts in Taylor County, the University of Florida Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Program (UFUASRP) was contacted by the University of Florida (UF) Taylor County Extension office about the potential of using small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) and their digital optical payloads to assist in boat quantification. In order to cover the entirety of the ≈75 kilometer Taylor County Gulf coastal area with the goal of quantifying the number of boats per unit water surface area using digital imagery, a pilot study was proposed to collect remotely-sensed data generated from aerial videos captured using both unmanned and manned aerial platforms. For more details see our attached mission report.

Inspire on Boat

 

Tall Timbers

As part of a National Risk Management Research Labratory project conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Canadian Forest Service, the UFUASRP's DJI S1000+ octocopter was equipped with a payload designed to sample fire emissions and collect infrared data from prescribed forest fires. The project was carried out at the Tall Timbers Research Station north of Tallahassee, FL. This project was one of many simultaneous research efforts at the Prescribed Fire Science Consortium. This article gives details on the data collected, the scope of the project, and the other agencies involved. (April 17th - 23rd, 2017)

 

FDOT High Mast Light Pole Inspections

As part of a larger project for the Florida Department of Transportation, the UASRP developed a payload system capable of observing defects on high mast light poles. The UASRP preformed inspections on 6 high mast light poles at two different locations. These inspections were conducted in parallel with exsisting inspection procedures to compare and contrast the different methods. (October 2016 - Febuary 2017)

 

Boise Rabbit Habitat Surveys 

In order to demonstrate the capabilities of UAS for ecological monitoring, the UASRP flew sections of areas in Boise Idaho to capture the amount of Pygmy Rabbits per unit area. We partnered with the University of Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences for a four year project in order to evaluate the quality of their habitat. A detailed article was written about this project and can be found here. (June 2013 - June 2014)

 

Indian Prairie Canal / Fisheating Bay

As part of an ongoing USACE invasive aquatic species management program on Lake Okeechobee, numerous mapping flights were made pre- and post-treatment to assess the effectiveness of their species-targeted herbicide treatments. Target species include luziola (Luziola subintegra), water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), and water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes). Continued monitoring flights are ongoing to evaluate long term treatment effects on native plant communities.

In addition to developing operational procedures to effectively monitor environmental changes over time, the Lake Okeechobee missions have also proven valuable in establishing real-world timelines for acquiring and processing UAS-derived geospatial products. This information is now used by UF and USACE project managers to more efficiently plan monitoring programs with realistic estimates instead of lofty academic projections.

Finally, supervised classification techniques were performed on the imagery sets to automatically identify and quantify relative abundances of invasive and indigenous plant species. See our complete project findings and data analysis here.

The image on the left shows the 5-cm resolution orthomosaic obtained pre-treatment, and the image on the right shows the same area after treatment 6 weeks later.  (Jan 2009 - May 2010)

5-cm Pre-treatment orthomosaic
Post-treatment orthomosaic acquired 6 weeks later.