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Fleet of Drones Maps a Mountain in 3D 27

Posted by Soulskill
from the stuff-that-matterhorns dept.
Zothecula writes "Explorers have mapped the surface of the iconic Matterhorn painstakingly by foot, by satellite, and now by drone, thanks to a partnership between drone maker senseFly and nonprofit Drone Adventures. Launching a small squadron of eBee minidrones off the summit and sides of the famous Alps mountaintop, the mission tested the navigational abilities of the system and created a staggering data-rich 3D model."

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Fleet of Drones Maps a Mountain in 3D

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  • Think of the possibilities.

    • Actually, the possibilities are staggering. What used to be sort of a rather high-end thingy when I first met the notion in mid-1990s (on SGI workstations, no less) suddenly becomes a problem of throwing enough computation onto gobs of lousier data (the drones probably have worse optics, photogrammetry-wise (although better resolution, of course), but there's virtually nothing you can't fix in software at this point). The whole thing can even its eyes where it needs them. I think the future of cartography i
    • We use this type of technology to map out flood plains and rivers and other things. Using this data we can model potential weak spots and areas for dam and levee improvement as well as effective fire management in the case of forest fires and wild fires.
    • by mikael (484)

      If they take these photographs at regular time intervals, they'll then have a 4D animation of the flow of glaciers down the mountain.

  • It would be interesting to know what would happen if a similar deployment of autonomous drones was pointed toward a high-security building such as the Pentagon, White House or congress. If they're autonomous, would some sort of jamming signal cause the drones to hover or retreat/drop? Probably only a matter of time before some idiot tries it...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm kind of surprised no nation has built a small robotic version of this [wikipedia.org] and packs it full of smallish drones with guns or explosives.
    • by BreakBad (2955249)
      This is 2013....they would be used to torment the First Pet and post videos on YouTube.
    • 1300mhz / gps jamming, - that's all

    • If they're autonomous, would some sort of jamming signal cause the drones to hover or retreat/drop?

      You can't "jam" something that's autonomous. You can't jam an incoming ICBM either. (Precisely because it's autonomous.)

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > You can't jam an incoming ICBM either. (Precisely because it's autonomous.)

        And precisely because it's ballistic. That's what the 'B' in ICBM stands for.

      • by Deadstick (535032)

        You can't "jam" something that's autonomous.

        Yes you can, if it uses GPS. "Autonomous" means not actively controlled from outside; it does not exclude the use of GPS.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now. Build me a 3D printer enough to print one of my own . . . hollow . . . with lava . . . and sharks . . . with laser beams.

  • Detailed mapping of Space Mountain and It's a Small World.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @04:43PM (#45146837)
    Did the 3d image include those climbing the mountain at that time as well?
    • from the linked article:

      For an idea of what these numbers mean, while viewing the image models you can easily make out the hotel-like Hörnlihütte where mountain climbers have been resting on the northeast ridge since 1880, but not see the much smaller 10-bed cabin Solvayhütte higher on the same ridge and recessed into a cliff face.

      So if the cabin isn't that easy to see, even smaller mountain climber won't be visible either.

    • by dj245 (732906)

      Did the 3d image include those climbing the mountain at that time as well?

      Probably not unless they stood still for the entire time. Anytime you stitch data together from multiple photos, there are artifacts from things which are in 1 photo but not in another photo. Software can deal with this in various ways, ranging from ignoring the problem (which creates an artifact or 'glitch') to removing anything which has moved completely.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @04:52PM (#45146913)

    Probably the best endorsement I've seen for the Surface Pro yet.

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