Greenland: COWI has used its Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle (UAV) to map a glacier 150 km northeast of Nuuk, with the objective to test whether UAV's can be used as an alternative to satellites and airplanes in mapping glaciers. The test mapping was carried out for DTU SPACE with the objective to enable a daily mapping of the glacier edge geometry, with the purpose to study the applicability of the UAV technology in the monitoring of glaciers.
For the practical UAV mapping, two field staff were transported by helicopter from Nuuk to the KNS glacier, on which they were placed 600 meters above the surface of the sea, with a view over the glacier. Over the following four days, the UAV systematically overflew the edge of the glacier, at different altitudes. Subsequently, the data was processed and the results were presented in a detailed colour-coded point cloud. The results of the UAV mapping was later compared with data from periodic large scale projects, where the entire marginal zone along the Greenlandic ice cap has been mapped, for example using air-born LIDAR.