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How to bridge the spatial scale gap in Earth's surface observation: the drone solution

The success and popularity of drones have enabled significant technological developments and decreased their market cost. Veerle Vandeginste investigates the opportunities and challenges of using small drones in field geological studies.

Observations of the Earth's surface happen at a range of scales, and vary from on the ground human observation to up in space satellite monitoring. Generally, the smaller the area covered, and thus the smaller the scale of the observation, the better the resolution of the observation. The resolution of on the ground observations is in the order of tens of micrometers to a few millimeters, whereas for satellite remote sensing the resolution is in the order of tens of centimeters to a few meters. The revolution in drone technological development offers the ultimate solution to bridge the spatial scale gap between on the ground and satellite imaging techniques.
Opportunities
Small drones, such as the DJI Phantom quadcopter, enable imaging at the millime…

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