29 Jan 2018
IIT-Roorkee professor invents drone-mounted video-geotagging system
Professor Kamal Jain of the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, has invented a new and affordable drone-mounted system for conducting aerial surveys.
The system developed by Jain, a professor in IIT-R's Civil Engineering Department, is more accurate and cost-effective than the existing LiDAR system.
It's reportedly the world's first unmanned aerial vehicle-mounted video geotagging system; he had patented it two years ago.
System can record videos, display geographical information in real-time
Professor Jain used a drone for capturing videos along with an interactive web map for demonstrating the new technology which makes video-geotagging possible.
It can play what's being recorded and simultaneously show the place's geolocation information like latitude and longitude on the web map in real-time.
The government has been using geotagging of photographs for monitoring as there was no real-time monitoring until now.
What exactly is LiDAR?
LiDAR (Light detection and ranging) is a surveying method for mapping aerial images with aircraft.
A camera-mounted aircraft is required to fly at a specific height for mapping. It is a costly method, involving a complex technique, which also requires civil aviation authorities' permission.
Prof. Jain said, "Taking the aspects into consideration, I have developed an unmanned aerial vehicle mounted video geotagging system."
Aerial survey and mapping of railway infrastructure
Professor Jain said when used with Google Maps, the new system is useful for real-time monitoring infrastructure projects (roads, bridges canals, railways) and defense purposes.
He added it could also be used in places like Uttarakhand where floods, landslides, and armed troop movements occur; he successfully conducted some tests.
Jain also conducted aerial survey and mapping of a railway infrastructure using the system.
New technique more cost-effective, accurate: Jain
Jain said a very high cost is involved in the aerial monitoring of infrastructure projects through the LiDAR method. Comparing the LiDAR and the drone-based video-geotagging technique, he said the former costs over Rs. 30,000 for one kilometer if aerial video monitoring, while the latter would cost less than Rs. 5,000.
He added that apart from being more affordable the new method is more accurate.
User can know accurate geospatial information: Jain
Explaining about the drone-mounted video-geotagging system, Jain said, "We use a drone over a particular area to take video images which are tagged with a web map that enables the user to know the accurate geospatial information like latitude or longitude of each point."
System permissible under aviation parameters
"(Using the UAV-mounted video-geotagging system) As one takes a video, it's displayed simultaneously on the satellite map taken from a vertical distance of 100m which is permissible under aviation parameters and the resolution images of the video are sharper and more effective," Jain said.