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Open AccessArticle

Optimization of UAV Flight Missions in Steep Terrain

Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Jamova 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(8), 1293;
Received: 1 March 2020 / Revised: 16 April 2020 / Accepted: 17 April 2020 / Published: 19 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Changing Mountain Environments)
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photogrammetry is one of the most effective methods for capturing a terrain in smaller areas. Capturing a steep terrain is more complex than capturing a flat terrain. To fly a mission in steep rugged terrain, a ground control station with a terrain following mode is required, and a quality digital elevation model (DEM) of the terrain is needed. The methods and results of capturing such terrain were analyzed as part of the Belca rockfall surveys. In addition to the national digital terrain model (NDTM), two customized DEMs were developed to optimize the photogrammetric survey of the steep terrain with oblique images. Flight heights and slant distances between camera projection centers and terrain are analyzed in the article. Some issues were identified and discussed, namely the vertical images in steep slopes and the steady decrease of UAV heights above ground level (AGL) with the increase of height above take-off (ATO) at 6%-8% rate. To compensate for the latter issue, the custom DEMs and NDTM were tilted. Based on our experience, the proposed optimal method for capturing the steep terrain is a combination of vertical and oblique UAV images. View Full-Text
Keywords: UAV; vertical images; oblique images; steep terrain; rockfall; DTM; custom DEM; tilted DEM; flight mission UAV; vertical images; oblique images; steep terrain; rockfall; DTM; custom DEM; tilted DEM; flight mission
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kozmus Trajkovski, K.; Grigillo, D.; Petrovič, D. Optimization of UAV Flight Missions in Steep Terrain. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 1293.

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