This study justifies the prospect of using aerial imagery from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for technological monitoring and operational control of municipal solid waste landfills. It presents the results of surveys (aerial imagery) of a number of Russian landfills, which were carried out using low-cost drones equipped with standard RGB cameras. In the processing of aerial photographs, both photogrammetric data processing algorithms (for constructing orthophotoplans of objects and 3D modeling) and procedures for thematic interpretation of photo images were used. Thematic interpretation was carried out based on lists of requirements for the operating landfills (the lists were compiled on the basis of current legislative acts). Thus, this article proposes framework guidelines for the complex technological monitoring of landfills using relatively simple means of remote control. It shows that compliance with most of the basic requirements for landfill operations, which are listed in both Russian and foreign regulation, can be controlled by unmanned aerial imagery. Thus, all of the main technological operations involving waste at landfills (placement, compaction, intermediate isolation) are able to be controlled remotely; as well as compliance with most of the design and planning requirements associated with the presence and serviceability of certain engineering systems and structures (collection systems for leachate and surface wastewater, etc.); and the state of the landfill body. Cases where the compliance with operating standards cannot be monitored remotely are also considered. It discusses the advantages of air imagery in comparison with space imagery (detail of images, operational efficiency), as well as in comparison with ground inspections (speed, personnel safety). It is shown that in many cases, interpreting the obtained aerial photographs for technological monitoring tasks does not require special image processing and can be performed visually. Based on the analysis of the available world experience, as well as the results of the study, it was concluded that unmanned aerial imagery has great potential for solving problems of waste landfill management.
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