UAVs for cemetery mapping and redevelopment

UAVs for cemetery mapping and redevelopment

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Traditionally, military have been using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for intelligence gathering. But now, UAVs are being used in mapping and surveying for non-military purpose. They are proving cheaper alternative of satellites and manned airplanes.


Traditionally, military have been using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for intelligence gathering. But now, UAVs are being used in mapping and surveying for non-military purpose. They are proving cheaper alternative of satellites and manned airplanes. Recently, Avetics – Singapore-based aerial mapping company conducted aerial mapping of Bukit Brown, oldest cemetery in Singapore. During redevelopment of the cemetery, it could not be possible to recognise graves of about 2 metre on satellite images. So, the Singapore Government selected Avetics.

Avetics contributed to this project by providing accurate aerial maps of the cemetery. The company used UAVs to provide 10 times higher resolution images than satellite images. Now, it was easy to identify graves on images. Spatial arrangement of the graves was documented and archived for future reference. The final maps were compatible with software used by Combodian Land Transport Authority which made construction planning easier.

Technology
After years of research, Avetics developed its own Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) mapping technology. It uses a 1.4 metre wingspan plane that can withstand high crosswinds. The UAV flies at 250 metre and can map 1 to 2 square kilometre per flight. Every flight takes about 40 minutes and images produced are at 5 cm Ground Sampling Distance (GSD). Since images are in GEOTIFF format, it is directly compatible with GIS used.

There are plans to integrate real time image stitching software so that the same UAV can be used to monitor disaster such as oil spills, forest fires and floods.

Crowdsourcing information
Besides providing UAV mapping service, Avetics also created a website www.bukitbrown.sg to crowdsource historical data of the cemetery. They invite public to tag graves with information and images. The goal is to create an online interactive map of Bukit Brown that will last for years to come.


Fig 1. High res images – Trucks

 


Fig 2. Shipping containers

 


Fig 3 – overlay of Bukit Brown map onto Google Earth

 


Fig 4 – High res images allows tagging