Although this article is not related to the use of tablet computers, I wanted to let you know about what I think is an amazing tool for fieldwork. Recently a friend of mine introduced me to a Kickstarter campaign launched by a company seeking funding for a drone that is truly unique. I was intrigued, as I have been working on a project for the last six months that this drone would be ideally suited for.
Imagine a water bottle that flies while maintaining an upright position. At the top are two sets of counter rotating propellers and on the bottom is a camera.
The concept is ingenious.
As a Forester on Canada’s West Coast I have often been working in areas where I cannot see more than 20 meters in any direction. I have to end up walking through challenging terrain just to make sure that what I can see is similar to what I can’t see. Great exercise, but costly.
With this drone I could save myself a lot of walking. It could be launched from relatively small clearings in the timber – swamps, rock outcrops, or roads. With the stabilized camera I could get a birds-eye view of the area of interest and find out where I really need to hike. The aerial images could also provide great information, which would improve the quality of the data collected.
The real beauty of “Sprite” is that it can easily be transported in a pack. This allows the drone to be launched close by the area of interest. However, Transport Canada requires that the drone must be visible to the operator even when flying autonomously. This will limit the number of suitable launch locations. However, even in small clearings there could be great value in launching Sprite and capturing photos from overhead.
I would encourage you to have a look at Ascent Aero Systems website to learn more about this unique drone.