Sapelo Island, GA

Overview:
I have been working with Prof. Tony Stallins on a biogeography project which uses 

overlapping unmanned aerial photographs to construct dense 3D reconstruction 

of topography, a process known as structure from motion photography (SFM)

. This summer was spent preparing for data collection through the ordering of 

materials and performing some field tests of the helikite (a helium-filled balloon/

kite hybrid) and time-lapse photography (a GoPRO camera mounted to the helikite). 

The work this fall semester involves refining the techniques and equipment 

handling necessary to collect and process data from a local landscape feature. 

This tentatively may be a rock outcrop or the topography around a sinkhole. If 

possible, we may undertake mapping of topography on a barrier island, likely 

Sapelo Island (Georgia) or one of the islands in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. 

This trip would be more likely to occur during a continuation of the project in the 

spring semester so as to ensure that our data collection techniques are refined and 

potential sources of error are mitigated.
Purpose:
The research involves the capture and use of aerial photographs to construct 

three-dimensional maps using freely available software. These maps can record 

horizontal and vertical positions of a surface at high resolutions, making it a low 

cost alternative for pricier, airplane-mounted LIDAR data collection. My goal is to 

utilize the aerial photos of a feature or landscape to perform a 3D reconstruction

using VisualSFM and other shareware. This research fits into a larger research

agenda involving the mapping of maritime dune plants and their topography.

Similar Projects:
Westoby et al