August 28, 2007
Amateur UAV Passion and Disappointment

Pict'Earth (man I don't like that name) is doing photo stitching and georeferencing of photos from their cheap UAV into Google Earth.

I think they imply (see the comment from David Riallant) that they can do this in realtime during the flight, but that for this video they processed the images offline to remove some of the low quality ones. They have a KML file for Google Earth, but either it doesn't really contain much or I just couldn't figure it out.

Pict'Earth's Todd Sipala describes why he finds first person video on RC planes compelling:

You put on the goggles, take a deep breath, and accelerate down the runway, springing into the air on a dead-calm Sunday morning. Everything seems to work, no video noise... check, uplink reponds nicely... check, DV camcorder is recording... check. Climb up to 100m or so, find some bearings, and set out for a speck in the distance... 3km is the target for today. Google earth satellite images have been memorized, here goes....

Chris Anderson recently organized an amateur UAV fly-in at the Alameda Naval Air Station. The fly-in was for a PBS documentary: “Since this was done mostly for the cameras (which can't tell the difference between autonomous and RC flight), we didn't really push the UAV envelope very far.” I'm a little surprised that I am disappointed in the attitude that since the cameras can't tell if an RC plane is autonomous or not, it's OK to shoot video of planes being remotely piloted and present it as though they were autonomous.

Less surprising is my disappointment with Chris' attitude toward the regulatory issues with hobbyist UAVs as evidenced in the RC Groups thread. I know he realizes that the FAA may not be happy with what he's doing, and I thought he was working for change on that front, but some of his answers in the thread are a bit evasive and obtuse.

I'm most disappointed by the conflict Chris felt when Amir, a 17-year-old Iranian kid (who commented in Chris' blog), showed off his UAV (also on Ask Slashdot). After all that disappointment, I was glad to see many of the commenters on Chris' blog and several members being supportive of Amir.

stitched amateur UAV imagery

Posted by jjwiseman at August 28, 2007 11:54 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:


Unless you answer this question, your comment will be classified as spam and will not be posted.
(I'll give you a hint: the answer is “lisp”.)


Remember info?