GLACIAL AND PERIGLACIAL GEOLOGY OF YANKEE BOY BASIN, CO: A MAPPING PILOT PROJECT USING AN UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE
We used USG aerial photography and orthophoto quads, Google Earth Pro® imagery, and imagery acquired with a Phanton 2 UAV. We used the UAV to acquire imagery from various altitudes ranging from 5m to 20m. Collected imagery was both vertical and panoramic. The vertical images were corrected and overlaid on DEMs of the area. The various images were entered into ArcGIS and a composite, mosaiced image was produce. This image served as the base for mapping. As we collected imagery, deposits were investigated in the field. The UAV provided an inexpensive way to collect images; however, it was not without challenges. As a sidelight to the mapping, we learned some important lessons of using a UAV in a high, alpine environment. Flying a UAV in thin air is tricky, and was further complicated by a constant breeze and wind gusts. We discovered morning, with relatively calm air, was the best time for flying the UAV. Afternoon heating of the air resulted in turbulent air. The standard propellers that come with the Phantom 2 are not suited for use at high elevations. We found wider propeller blades proved the needed lift for the UAV.
This map is part of a larger project to create a detailed map of the glacial and periglacial deposits of the San Juan Mountains.