Heliguy Blog: Drones for Climate

UK drone company Heliguy recently ran a blog article about my work with drones in the Arctic including on my Microsoft/National Geographic AI for Earth grant. Drones have been increasingly important in my work on Arctic climate change, especially in mapping melting over glacier surfaces and as a way to link ground measurements with satellite … Continue reading Heliguy Blog: Drones for Climate

Eyes in the Sky 2: Airspace

Just like the land and oceans, the sky is divided into regulated regions. This makes sense, as it prevents unauthorised flights over sensitive and/or dangerous areas like airports, military zones, power stations, private land etc. Knowing the airspace classification is a fundamental prerequisite for making safe and legal flights with an unmanned aerial system (UAS). … Continue reading Eyes in the Sky 2: Airspace

Eyes in the Sky 1: METAR

I'm currently studying for my CAA permission for commercial operations (PfCO) - what is commonly thought of as the UK drone pilot's license. Flying small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) is an increasingly common part of field science especially in polar science where a) scaling in-field observations over space is critical, b) we rely heavily on … Continue reading Eyes in the Sky 1: METAR

Machine Learning: An unexplored horizon for Polar science

I recently published an article in Open Access Government about the potential for machine learning technologies to revolutionise Polar science, with focus on optical remote sensing data from drones and satellites.  You can read it online  or download it from OAGov_Oct18  

A smartphone-based UV spectrometer

In our new paper we report on some novel tech that uses the sensor in a smartphone for ultraviolet spectroscopy. It is low cost and based entirely on off-the-shelf components plus a 3-D printed case. The system was designed with volcanology in mind - specifically the detection of atmospheric sulphur dioxide, but may also have … Continue reading A smartphone-based UV spectrometer

Frontiers Paper: Albedo products from drones

A new paper, led by Johnny Ryan, shows that a consumer grade digital camera mounted to a drone can be used to estimate the albedo of ice surfaces with an accuracy of +/- 5%. This is important because albedo measurements are fundamental to predicting melt, but satellite albedo data is limited in its spatial and … Continue reading Frontiers Paper: Albedo products from drones

Svalbard UAV: Lessons learned

Here are a few things I learned after ten days of field testing the UAV multispectral data acquisition in Svalbard... Video showing take off in stabilize mode, switch to loiter mode at about 5 m, quick control test then into automatic mission.  1. The UAV is surprisingly robust. The aircraft was transported to the sites … Continue reading Svalbard UAV: Lessons learned

Svalbard UAV tests

Having made successful UAV test flights at home in the Peak District, we have relocated to Svalbard for a week to test the equipment in the most challenging possible conditions. We are flying in temperatures as low as -10 C, in gusty wind and after pulling the UAV to the field site in its flight … Continue reading Svalbard UAV tests

High bradfield: UAV test flights

The past few weeks have been spent working down in the robotics department at the University of Sheffield building a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle, a.k.a drone). Ultimately, it will be used to make measurements of spectral reflectance of the ice surface in Greenland. It's been great fun working in robotics - entering the lab is like … Continue reading High bradfield: UAV test flights