Home Geospatial Applications Miscellaneous Students use balloons to lower mapping costs

Students use balloons to lower mapping costs

Harrisburg, US: Faculty and students of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology’s Geospatial Technology programme conducted an experiment with balloon mapping. Steve Cline and Professor Albert Sarvis performed a low cost mapping effort which involved launching a digital camera with a large (tethered) helium balloon to heights of approximately 1,000 ft in order to capture timely images of the earth below.

Sarvis stated, “The idea really is for small-scale environmental projects. You can put this balloon up and get a fairly accurate look at an area and an image of something as it happens.” The researchers explained that these images will be very useful for small social or environmental projects that require aerial images in order to document phenomenon on the ground.

Using GIS technology, these remotely sensed images will help students work with the community to provide map data for previously unmapped surface features. Researchers can obtain real-time environmental data on streams, rivers, traffic, etc.

Moreover, using a balloon to carry the camera is cheaper than renting an airplane and the images would contain more detail than satellite maps produced by Google, or other companies.

Source: Harrisburg University