For decades aircraft and spacecraft technologies have been leveraged in agriculture. For aircraft applications, aerial crop dusting might come to mind, and I include spacecraft technologies for at least two roles that they play: for one they are used for remote sensing in a variety of applications, some of which collect information on environmental conditions that impact agriculture as well as collecting information on soil or vegetation health on farmland; secondly they are used indirectly to assist in navigation of other survey tools and automated fertilizer or pesticide application systems. With the proliferation of unpiloted aircraft systems (UASs), or “drones”, these technologies have been added to tools that can be leveraged in agriculture. While they have been adopted at different rates and in different ways for agriculture in different parts of the world in the past couple of decades, there seems to be a definitive niche for their use in some way or another in agriculture, though that niche varies depending on the geological region and what kind of agriculture they are being used to support.
Agricultural applications of drones are not my own focus area, but for some of my colleagues it is the primary focus of how they think about leveraging drones, and certainly I have not been entirely absent from using UAS and survey tools in support of agricultural applications. While I could talk in detail about any number of theses agriculture-related projects, in this article I want to give a brief overview of how different teams at UMass have leveraged more advanced survey tools like UAS and RTK GNSS in support of their work.Continue reading “UAS Agriculture Applications: Selected Agricultural Research Projects from the last 6 Years”
The models shown above are from Project 2 in BCT 420 “Designing in 3D CAD & BIM” and ECO 620 “Studies in BIM”, a project-based course that teaches Trimble SketchUp, Realworks and Autodesk Revit. In this project students are being asked to digitally design and then fabricate a “useful object” using any of these methods: wood model building, paper model building, casting, 3D printing, CNC cutting. Continue reading “BCT’s Design / Build Models – 2022 Edition”
UMass BCT Graduate Student Brett Barnard can be seen here operating the Trimble TX8 3D Scanner with Senior Andrew Smith and Sophomore Leo Minniti to survey and analyze a retaining wall on the Amherst campus. They plan to scan the entire wall in both Fall and Spring to obtain multiple 3D point clouds of the area for surveying and mapping purposes. Continue reading “Surveying a Retaining Wall”
How and why lake volumes change over time remains a largely unknown question globally. Factors such as precipitation, water table height, evaporation, and human impacts such as lake level drawdown can impact lake volumes over time, potentially resulting in changes in water supply and lentic ecosystems. To learn more about changes in lake volumes at a global scale, the project “Lake Observations by Citizen Scientists and Satellites” (LOCSS) pairs satellite imagery, which can detect lake area over time, with simple lake gauges that everyday citizens can read and collect data from. With the changes in height read from the lake gauge paired with the changes in lake surface area, we can better assess changes in lake volume over time. Continue reading “Validating Water Surface Elevation for a Citizen Science Project in New Hampshire”
It is well known that sea level is rising and will cause significant shoreline adjustments around the globe. This makes the art of measuring sea level a critical skill for coastal scientists. For precise and accurate measurements, not only it is necessary to understand the functionality of the instruments we use, but also the reference frame to which all our measurements are fixed to, better known as datums. Fortunately, high end technology such as Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) can help us measure elevation up to 2 cm precision. This high level of precision requires complex processes. Thankfully, there is instrumentation capable of reaching high precision within a short period of time – the Trimble® R10 GNSS system.