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Feasibility of RPAS in Environmental Surveys of Metsähallitus

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Title: Feasibility of RPAS in Environmental Surveys of Metsähallitus
Author(s): Auvinen, Markus
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Forest Sciences
Discipline: Forest Resource Science and Technology
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2017
The exploitation of remotely piloted aircraft systems has sharply increased for both amateur and professional purposes. Rapid technological development is driven by consumer grade applications. On the professional side, RPAS technologies have already been widely used in different fields of environmental resource management, especially in agriculture. Due to the recent price development, technology has become also attainable for less financially productive purposes, such as environmental surveys. By applying RPAS technologies in environmental surveys of forest industry, a substantial amount of fieldwork can be avoided thus leading to financial savings and possibly to more comparative measurements and results. To test this hypothesis, three different sub-disciplines of forest industry environmental surveys were conducted by both traditional fieldwork and by applying manual and automatic remote sensing methods. Aerial imagery was recorded with a multispectral sensor attached to consumer grade remotely piloted aircraft. Sub-discipline specific attributes were measured and compared to estimates derived from aerial imagery and three dimensional models. It was proved that by using even relatively low-priced instruments the quality of the data was more than adequate for remote sensing purposes. An automated workflows to derive measurements from the subjects of interest did not perform satisfactory, but manual interpretation of imagery gave promising results. It can be assumed that RPAS technologies are able to provide savings for conducting environmental surveys. Manual interpretation was at that moment seen superior to automated workflows.
Keyword(s): Geographic Information System Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Remote Sensing Environmental Survey

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