In this section, you will become familiar with and understand the different civilian and commercial applications of the UAS as it stands today. UAS applications that concern us the most are the remote sensing applications. Here, the UAS is replacing manned aircraft as an acquisition platform. Remote sensors such cameras and LiDAR systems are shrunk in size and weight to make them more suitable for the lightweight small UAS as was mentioned in the Payload section of Lesson 2. Remote sensing applications derived from sensors onboard a UAS are more or less similar to the applications that one can expect from a manned system. Manned aircraft can carry larger and heavier payload, which open the door for additional applications that required large sensors such as IFSAR. Reported applications for the UAS include the following:
- Remote Sensing Applications
- Precision Agriculture: Precision agriculture is the most widely used civilian application of the UAS. Farmers and the agricultural community are very optimistic about the prospect of using UAS for their daily activities. The following articles should provide you with a fairly decent idea of the topic:
- Range Land Management
- Landslides Research: Engineers are using UAS for land monitoring and management. This field is also witnessing a promising future with the use of the UAS for their daily repetitive monitoring activities.
- Ocean and coastal Research
- Contaminant Spills and Pollution
- Landfill Mapping and monitoring
- Engineering and Surveying
- Corridor Mapping
- Mining site mapping
- Crop and aquaculture farm monitoring
- Mineral exploration
- Spectral and thermal analysis
- Critical infrastructure monitoring, including power facilities, ports, and pipelines
- Commercial photography, aerial mapping and charting, and advertising
- Disaster response, including search and support to rescuers, in situations such as:
- floods and hurricanes,
- Medical Supplies Delivery
- Traffic monitoring, and
- Other environmental control and monitoring.
- General Applications and Services
- media resources
- security awareness
- communications and broadcast, including news/sporting event coverage
- cargo transport
Details on some of these applications are given in chapter 6 of the textbook and assigned readings listed below. Try to visit the UAV Applications in this site, as it has interesting information about different aspects of the UAS and its applications. Another way to explore potential applications of UAS-derived products is to look into the different applications of Geographic Information System (GIS) as they are closely related. In this regard, ESRI published on their website a good educational overview to highlight the different applications of GIS.
- Chapter 6 of Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems
- Chapter 20 of Elements of Photogrammetry with Applications in GIS
Watch the webinar: "Applying Drones to Surveying and Engineering Projects Today"