Fi­nal Ap­proach

Map­ping a West Indies is­land par­adise

Model Airplane News - - CONTENTS - By the Model Airplane News crew

SIL­HOU­ETTE IS­LAND, part of the Sey­chelles in the west­ern In­dian Ocean, has an amaz­ing bio­di­ver­sity and is home to sev­eral crit­i­cally en­dan­gered plants and an­i­mals. To keep track of the dif­fer­ent species on the is­land and gain in­sights into its unique ecosys­tem, an up-to-date map is an es­sen­tial tool. This was not pos­si­ble for half a cen­tury, how­ever, due to its re­mote lo­ca­tion and rough en­vi­ron­ment, with moun­tain­tops reach­ing 2,400 feet. En­ter the At­mos UAV hy­brid map­ping drone Mar­lyn, which has en­abled car­tog­ra­phy pro­fes­sional TFC In­ter­na­tional to map this trop­i­cal is­land par­adise.

Mar­lyn is an in­dus­trial-grade pho­togram­me­try drone that makes sur­vey­ing easy, ef­fi­cient, and straight­for­ward. It can with­stand winds of up to 35mph dur­ing take­off, land­ing, and cruis­ing flight, and it can map 4.6 square miles in a sin­gle flight. It’s pow­ered ver­ti­cally by four elec­tric mo­tors, then tran­si­tions to for­ward flight, dur­ing which two mo­tors are turned off. It uses a dual-bat­tery sys­tem de­vel­oped by At­mos UAV so that one bat­tery func­tions as a fail-safe for the other.

The Is­land Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety man­ages preser­va­tion ef­forts at Sil­hou­ette Is­land, and Con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer François Baguette ex­plains that, be­fore this project, “the out­dated and in­ac­cu­rate map was our only means of plan­ning and guid­ing ex­pe­di­tions. Dur­ing our trips, we might en­counter cliffs or im­pen­e­tra­ble ar­eas that were not shown on the cur­rent map, forc­ing us to abort the mis­sion pre­ma­turely.” He adds, “The high-res­o­lu­tion pho­to­graphs and maps made by Mar­lyn will help us bet­ter un­der­stand this area and will en­able us to bet­ter plan our ex­pe­di­tions, sav­ing us a lot of time and valu­able man­power.”

San­der Huls­man, CEO of At­mos UAV, says, “With this project, we are seam­lessly pur­su­ing the vision of our com­pany: em­pow­er­ing pro­fes­sion­als across in­dus­tries to ef­fort­lessly gather geospa­tial data from the sky, en­abling them to make more in­formed de­ci­sions, more ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively.”

At­mos UAV is a com­pany in the Nether­lands that spe­cial­izes in the de­sign and pro­duc­tion of high-end aerial sur­vey­ing and data-col­lec­tion sys­tems.

The ter­rain found on Sil­hou­ette Is­land is rugged and pris­tine. Sev­eral im­ages taken by Mar­lyn were com­bined into one or­tho­graphic im­age. An el­e­va­tion model was de­rived from data gath­ered by Mar­lyn dur­ing a map­ping mis­sion on Sil­hou­ette Is­land. This im­age shows the el­e­va­tion model is laid over a reg­u­lar or­thophoto.

Mar­lyn takes off at Sil­hou­ette Is­land to start a map­ping mis­sion.

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