Dr Mike J Smith

Plymouth University

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Mike Smith

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I've waxed lyrical about the Ricoh GR being a great UAV camera before - well the long awaited successor has been announced (but hasn't yet landed) and summarised over at DPReview. The interesting aspects of the uprated specs are IIS (inbody image stabilisation), 24MP sensor and touchscreen. The resolution boost and IIS will be of significant interest to UAV users so it will be interesting to see how it performs out in the field.

posted on: Tue, 25 Sep 2018 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

You're Waiting For a bus... and a SenseFly Comes Along
I commented late last year about DJI becoming a camera manufacturer... this is an interesting and exciting move simply because the quality of imagery from drones has lagged significantly behind the rest of the camera industry....

posted on: Sat, 27 Jan 2018 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Earth-i Launches Vivid-i
Earth-i has just launched a new SSTL built satellite which is claimed to be the first to provide full colour UHD video - UHD is 3840x2160 pixels (8MP), shooting at 50 fps (compared to Landsat 9's ~12,000x12,000). That's a lot of downstream data, although it would appear it's not the video they're interested in, but the multi-temporal data. Think super resolution to give them an effective ~70cm pixel size, but also stereo (and so 3D). This is the first of a planned 15 satellite constellation which could provide global coverage and much more agile mapping capabilities. Video is clearly the new high resolution!

posted on: Sat, 13 Jan 2018 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Zenmuse X7 DxOMark Tests
DPReview report report on DxOMark's tests of the Zenmuse X7 and it makes for some impressive reading... it's a quality sensor that has nearly 14 stops of dynamic range with good low-light performance. This line from the review pretty much sums things up: it delivers results that compete closely with those from a high-scoring APS-C format DSLR, despite being housed in a camera that’s mounted in a stabilized gimbal and specifically designed for aerial photography.

posted on: Thu, 09 Nov 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Space in the news...
A couple of nice space links.... first a celebration of the Russian Soyuz system. An engineering marvel that is reliable and low cost - a feat for any product but the fact that this is over 50 years old and just keeps working is remarable. Second, GIS-Geography have a list of 50 satellites in 30 words or less. Vital reading for any researcher... of undergraduate geographer!

posted on: Wed, 08 Nov 2017 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

DJI is a camera company
Two years ago I blogged about the introduction of a micro four thirds camera by DJI, followed last year by the Phantom 4 which allowed RAW capture....

posted on: Fri, 13 Oct 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Photogrammetry Round Up
With being fresh back from EGU, it seemed an appropriate moment to provide a few brief links to things relevant: 1....

posted on: Fri, 05 May 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Canon is droning on....
Industrial drones are it... whilst the media spotlight has been firmly on cheap and cheerful like the DJI Phantoms delivering drugs to prisons or involved in near misses with commercial aircraft, the heavy lifting (literally) is being done by commercial drones in the industrial sector....

posted on: Fri, 07 Apr 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Uber Drone?
Is this the next Uber Drone, coming to some skies near you? As the article says, would like to see 1000 hours of safe flight time first and the ability to fly with only two motors by feathering then should there be a failure. Exciting times though - I get a sense of scenes from The Fifth Element coming true (that would be Ruby Rhod first maybe)!!

posted on: Tue, 14 Feb 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

And the cost of hiring a UAV is being driven down.... Dronebase is your AirBnB of UAV operators. Don't pay over the top and go to one site to find them. The growth has been extremely rapid - see what their investors think. Its a great idea and, well, a very useful resource.

posted on: Thu, 02 Feb 2017 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

UPDATE: Cookie Cutter and ArcGIS 10.4
Way back in 2009 I published a paper on the Cookie Cutter which outlined a method (and accompanying script) for calculating the volume of drumlins....

posted on: Mon, 21 Nov 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Don't just fly a drone... BE THE DRONE!
We've long been able to view remote video footage from a remote camera - when I was developing the kite aerial photography workflow I currently use, I experimented with a small spy camera that transmitted video footage back to an analogue LCD TV....

posted on: Fri, 09 Sep 2016 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

OS from the air
A nice piece over at the BBC on informal photos taken by Ordnance Survey's aerial unit whilst surveying. And the accompanying video. Grand stuff!

posted on: Mon, 05 Sep 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

It's been a little while since my last global DEM news update but (somewhat belatedly) I came across Earth-Env DEM90 which merges SRTM (shuttle radar) and GDEM (ASTER photogrammetric) global DEMs....

posted on: Tue, 30 Aug 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Google Earth Updates
A little late in getting this out, but Google announced late-June updates to imagery in Google Earth....

posted on: Fri, 12 Aug 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

How big is your image? O, 53 billion pixels!
DPReview have a review of Bentley's rather impressive 53 billion pixel of one of their cars on the Golden Gate Bridge. It might not be obvious at first glance but it is there!! Made up of over 700 photos taken at varying focal lengths (between 300 and 1500mm... bet that puppy cost a few pennies!) using a motorised panoramic tripod head it is one monster of an image that require a fare bit of TLC is post production - most notably the bridge can move ~8m in either direction in high winds! Head on over to Bentley to take a peek.

posted on: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

DPReview report on a new DJI/Hasselblad tie up that sees Hasselblad bundle their A5D (see my earlier post) medium format camera with DJI's industrial Matrice 600 drone....

posted on: Wed, 13 Jul 2016 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Environment Agency Aerial Photography
Following their release of LiDAR DEMs and point clouds last year, the Environment Agency have now released their aerial imagery for the UK. This is high resolution vertical imagery for England with RGB and NIR with resolutions from 50cm to 10cm. Head on over to their map portal for download.

posted on: Thu, 07 Jul 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Olympus NIR Sensor
An interesting article over at Amateur Photographer which picks up an Olympus press release about the development of an RGB/NIR sensor for use in consumer grade cameras....

posted on: Tue, 14 Jun 2016 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

EA Point Cloud Data
Following the release of the LiDAR DEMs of the UK by the Environment Agency, the EA have now announced the release of the raw point cloud data. Great news!

posted on: Wed, 01 Jun 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

The falcon has landed
What a cool video clip!

posted on: Sat, 28 May 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

New Mayan City Discovered
What a great story - a 15 year old with a passion for Mayan civilisation discovers a lost city on the Yucatan peninsula using satellite imagery, hitherto unknown to archaeologists!...

posted on: Wed, 11 May 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Open Source Software for the Geosciences
Great list of OSS of relevance to the geosciences over at the GRSS. Someting for everyone to pick over - I particularly both Whitebox GAT and the R package for atmospheric correction of satellite imagery. Excellent stuff.

posted on: Wed, 04 May 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Shadbolt's Aerial Images of London
Historic England have just released Shadbolt's iconic photos of England which went under the hammer last year and were rescued by HE (and, yes, for those confused Historic England was part of English Heritage which split in two in 2015). These photos form the earliest aerial images of London and largely cover the suburban fringe that were undergoing rapid expansion - all in amazing detail. Sadly Shadbolt was killed in - perhaps unsurprisingly - a ballooning accident. A great collection that forms a unique part of early aerial photography. Copyright Historic England

posted on: Wed, 27 Apr 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Beagle 2 and Super Resolution
The Beagle 2 was perhaps the most infamous of British attempts in space. The sheer audacity of a tiny mission, built on a shoestring to achieve a dramatic landing on Mars....

posted on: Tue, 26 Apr 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

TIROS Flashback
EPoD provided a great flashback last week to the first ever image acquired from TIROS 1 and, no joke, 1 April 1960. That is a LONG time ago and it was remarkable because it was the first time there was routine observation of the Earth's weather. A remarkable achievement. It only lasted 77 days but this was a research mission testing feasibility and system designs. The TIROS programme was hugely successful and paved the way for Earth observation as we know it today. And if you want an extended flashback.... read the National Geographic article from that year.

posted on: Mon, 11 Apr 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

ASTER Data Available at No Charge
Great news from USGS over at LPDAAC announcing that ASTER data is now FREE OF CHARGE. A great data resource and invaluable to researchers around the globe....

posted on: Fri, 08 Apr 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Ultra lightweight KAP cameras?
I briefly commented on KAP cameras when looking at the PhaseOne iXU180 - a great medium format camera for medium weight UAV use....

posted on: Sun, 27 Mar 2016 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

DJI Phantom 4
The rapid development roadmap for DJI continues (see Phantom 3 camera review). Camera improvements continue abate and onboard you'll find a 12MP stills camera with a 1/2.3-inch (8.8x6.6mm) sensor. ISO goes up to of 1600 for photos and, crucially, records Adobe DNG RAW. This is a BIG step forward for a drone camera as it allows much greater headroom in post processing. The field of view is 94° which is about equivalent to an 18mm lens on a full frame camera (which means wide and with lots of distortion).

posted on: Wed, 02 Mar 2016 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Structure from Motion 101
I gave a short talk on numerical approaches to capturing "landscape" in a general sense and more specifically on my collaborative work on Studio of Objects with hijack and Chris Horrocks (at Kingston). Working with Flora Parrott, this was to give her students on the Foundation Fine Art Degree a taster of both laser scanning and Structure from Motion techniques. Slides below for those interested. My PhD student James O'Connor did the most dangerous of things - a live demo!!! He's now written this up as a 101 for getting started in Structure from Motion processing - and, of course, as a tribute to Oscar in Sesame street (not Elmo!). A great primer.

posted on: Sat, 30 Jan 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Satellite Image Acquisitions, 2015
A great piece of work by one of my former dissertation students (Graham) over at Geocento plotting the location of all commercial satellite image acquisitions from it's archive. This includes images from ErosB, FORMOSAT-2, GeoEye-1, KOMPSAT-2, KOMPSAT-3, KOMPSAT-5, Pleiades-1A, Pleiades-1B, RADARSAT-2, RapidEye-1, RapidEye-2, RapidEye-3, RapidEye-4, RapidEye-5, SPOT-6, SPOT-7, TanDEM-X, TerraSAR-X, UK-DMC2, Worldview-1, Worldview-2, WorldView-3 Whats interesting is that this will in-part reflect how the satellites are being tasked and so potentially imply some of the applications. Makes for fascinating viewing.

posted on: Fri, 08 Jan 2016 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

SpaceX Successful Landing
I blogged earlier this year about SpaceX's nearly successful (or failed, depending upon your point of view!) attempted at a vertical landing of the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket. This time they were successful and, to boot, launched 11 satellites in to space as well. Makes for a great party piece!!

posted on: Tue, 22 Dec 2015 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

A little while back I blogged about the release of the EA LiDAR DEMs for the UK - well a nice pickup from GoGeo for a coverage map of the data.

posted on: Sun, 13 Dec 2015 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Space Placements in INdustry (SPIN)
I missed this last year, but it's well worth flagging to all undergraduates as a fantastic way to get industry experience - Space Placements in INdustry (SPIN)....

posted on: Wed, 09 Dec 2015 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

Digital preservation
What do you do when an artifact you have is in danger of loss or destruction?? Preserve it of course!...

posted on: Sat, 14 Nov 2015 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

SkyTech Event (and Commercial UAV Show Report)
I attended the Commcerical UAV Show last month at the Excel Centre, sharing a slice of the vast area with the Robotics Show....

posted on: Fri, 13 Nov 2015 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Studio of Objects Wrap Up
Well with the Paolozzi project (Studio of Objects) finally finished, the start of the summer saw the final wrap up "event"....

posted on: Mon, 21 Sep 2015 | path: /remote_sensing | permanent link to this entry

DJI announce micro four thirds camera
DJI have announced a micro four thirds camera for their drones which seems to be specifically targeted at the film industry but has important implications for photogrammetry....

posted on: Fri, 11 Sep 2015 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

Commercial UAV Operators Double
An interesting summary piece over at Amateur Photographer.... and particularly noting that "The number of CAA-approved commercial operators now stands as 862, compared to 549 in April and a reported 359 in October 2014."...

posted on: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry

With the press reporting on UAV near misses in the UK there is increasing pressure on how to effectively deal with drones encroaching on airspace and a rational approach to safety....

posted on: Thu, 20 Aug 2015 | path: /remote_sensing/UAV | permanent link to this entry