[CHP] Looking for a UAV person to take aerial photos of a park.

I'm not having luck searching online, so I thought I'd ask here.

I'm looking for a person with a UAV/Drone/glorified RC plane who can
take downward-looking aerial photos and somehow stitch them together
to make a (ideally) georeferenced or (hopefully) orthographic or
(scraping the bottom of the barrel) just a memory card full of
downward looking photos. (From reading DIYDrones.com, I know there are
GPS-equipped UAVs that can fly a planned flight path automatically,
typically carrying a CHDK-hacked Canon point-and-shoot pointing
straight down, and that there are software tools that can stitch the
photos together correctly to approximate orthogonality and proper

A club I'm in, Orienteering Cincinnati (OCIN), needs to map a park
about 90 minutes from Cincinnati, but the State of Kentucky won't have
the aerial products we prefer (lidar) until next year at the earliest,
and that date won't work for our event.

At this point I'm just interested in seeing if anyone knows anyone who
might be able to do it. OCIN is a non-profit, so we could certainly
reimburse expenses, and possibly actually pay for the service, but
probably not enough to satisfy someone who does this service

Anyway, if you know someone who might be able to do this, please let
me know. I'm in a bit of a time crunch. (We just found a commercial
source of aerial photos that we think is less than a year old, but if
they're leaf-on we'll have to use older USGS black-and-white leaf-off
aerials that are probably ten years old.)


This sounds like something right up Marvin’s alley… Hey Marvin???

And I’m basically desperate, so if you don’t know anyone who can do it, then my question becomes, “If you had this problem, who would you ask?”

Marvin—please email me directly. I’d love to ask you some questions.


Do you have a more exact deadline?

What resolution are you looking to get? I would assume that the images would need gps info attached to them, correct?

Any other data needed along with that? Does it all need to be stitched together?

Our mapper arrives from Russia in three days, October 28th.

Fairly high resolution, but a normal camera lens at 400ft or so should be fine.

No GPS data needs to be in the image files. Our software for mapping predates the modern GIS revolution, so we can handle images that aren’t georeferenced. However, we do need to be able to process the camera images to make orthogonal composite images, which we would then separate into tiles. There’s usually a little text file associated with each image to tell the software where that tile gets displayed.

We would get GPS data manually from some large, obvious features in the park, like a distinctive road junction or parking lot corner to use in the stitching software.

I should know by Monday if the images we got from a commercial service are adequate. If the trees have leaves, they probably won’t be. (And that brings up a whole other issue—that the leaves are still mostly on right now. If we can plan on getting UAV images in a few weeks, our mapper can work on other things until then.) The point of all this is that the mapper can do the work faster with good initial images. The mapper can actually make a map starting from a white sheet of paper, but trust me, it costs more, takes longer, and isn’t as good a map.

Try local ultralight groups? Possible. Anyone know any? The park is Carter Caves, in Carter County, KY.

Buy/Rent an AR drone? Probably not possible this late. I’ve had plans to make one starting from a Multiplex Easy Star foam model airplane, but just haven’t had the time. I work with two serious RC modelers (in Dayton), but they don’t do drones.


Carter Caves?

That’s less than 45 minutes from my home in Morehead.

I might have a solution for you that’s local – I’ve reached out to one of the Air and Space Engineering professors at MSU who plays with quadcopters in his spare time, and I’ll let you know when he gets back to me.