Paper No. 162-65
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
TAKE TO THE SKIES: QUADCOPTER EXPLORATION IN PALEONTOLOGY
The use of quadcopters to survey potential dinosaur track sites has been of growing interest as the technology and tools have grown lighter, cheaper, and more user friendly. A test of this concept was performed at a known track site located along Cow House Creek, near Gatesville, Texas, USA. Performance under field conditions provides better indications of applicability, as quadcopters provide quick assessments of a large area when compared with traditional ground based assessment. Traditional remote sensing may provide the tools to establish areas of interest, but Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) provide further benefits. The primary benefit is instant user feedback via high resolution video, allowing for exploration of potential sites in detail, while also allowing for the examination of vertical exposures that may be impossible to access using traditional imaging techniques. The capability of quickly evaluating a site before time-intensive ground work is attempted, combined with the lower cost of objective specific exploration when compared with traditional remote sensing, allows for more exploration at a lower cost during field work. With both traditional photography and LIDAR, quadcopters provide imagery capable of building three dimensional models of a site, allowing for use in education and study by scientists unable to attend field work. Limiting factors for UAV use include battery life, payload weight, and legal requirements of the area to be studied.