GEOG 892
Geospatial Applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

Lesson 2 Introduction


Welcome to Lesson 2! In this lesson, you will become familiar with the elements that combine to create an operational Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). Most UASs consist of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), human elements, payload, control elements (for a larger system it will be a ground control station (GCS) or mission planning and control station (MPCS)), and a data link communication unit (Figure 2.1). Military versions of the UAS will have an additional weapon system platform and supporting soldiers as part of the human element.

overview of UAV components - highlight system user (more information in text description below)
Figure 2.1: UAS Components
Source: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Report, Connecting Globally, December 2011
Click here for text description.
Image showing one large circle surrounded by seven smaller circles, depicting the UAV components. The large circle at the center is labeled "Unmanned Aircraft System". The seven circle surrounding it are: "Unmanned Aircraft", "Payload", "Human Element", "Control Elements", "Data Links", "Support Element", and "System User".

In addition, you will understand and develop knowledge about the different acquisition and auxiliary aerial sensors that are usually carried on board the UAS payload. Finally, at the end of this lesson, you will have a working knowledge of the different components forming a UAS and how the different components relate and interact with one another, the data acquisition sensors, and the auxiliary sensors that accompany a UAS mission, such as GPS and IMU.

Lesson Objectives

At the successful completion of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • describe and identify the different elements of an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS);
  • understand the functionality of each element making the UAS;
  • explain how the different elements of a UAS complement each other;
  • understand the basics in regard to an aerial vehicle design;
  • describe different payloads;
  • identify the different miniaturized sensors used for remote sensing;
  • understand the fundamentals of digital cameras and LiDAR;
  • understand the basics principals of GPS and IMU.

Lesson Readings

Lesson Activities

  • Complete the Discussion Forum for Lesson 2: SWOT Analysis
  • Take the Lesson 1 and 2 quizzes