UAS & GEOMATICS PORTFOLIO
Exhibit A - Cofounder of Corvis Aerial Inc.
Fixed Wing UAS

Fixed Wing UAS

NIR Imaging

NIR Imaging

RGB Imaging

RGB Imaging

Custom Payloads

Custom Payloads

UAS Surveys

UAS Surveys

Ground Truthing

Ground Truthing

3D Modeling

3D Modeling

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In 2015, 2 colleagues from the University of Calgary Dept. of Geography and I founded a UAS services company. With our combined experience in field operations, aerial platforms and remote sensing, we provided aerial surveys for a range of clients and were a part of in several ongoing research efforts involving the application of remote sensing methods initially developed for satellite imagery to data collected remotely with a UAS. I was fortunate in my role at Corvis Aerial to apply skills developed from my past experience in remote controlled airplane hobby in a professional setting. Additionally, I was able to cultivate a variety of new skills, including:

  • Managing field operations

  • Navigating commercial UAS policy in Canada

  • Mission planning for highly automated UAS flights

  • GIS data collection requirements

  • Setting ground control points & basic RTK GPS operation

  • Basic knowledge of photogrammetry software (Photoscan, Pix4D)

  • UAS payload customization and mission planning integration (remote triggering of cameras, etc.)

Project Spotlight: Burgess Shale Photogrammetry

By far the highlight of my work with unmanned aerial systems was an opportunity in the summer of 2016 to visit the famed Walcott Quarry of the Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park. This is one of the jewels of Canada's paleontological crown, and as an avid amateur palaeontologist, it was somewhere I had read extensively about and always hoped to visit. We were contacted by the Royal Ontario Museum to provide a proposal for creating an extremely high quality 3D model of Fossil Ridge on Mount Burgess, including 3 quarries of interest. I headed up the account, and we were selected from a list of vendors for the job. As the work was being done in a National Park, a restricted activity permit was obtained and  a special flight operating certificate application was filed with Transport Canada.

Top: Panorama of Fossil Ridge taken from the Walcott Quarry interpretive sign. Lower left: During downtime between flights I was able to identify some fossils, including an Anomalocaris mouth plate. Lower right: A large trilobite found on Fossil Ridge.

This was a logistically challenging project that pushed the boundaries of UAS remote sensing. Access to the site required an extensive hike in with all necessary equipment. Parks Canada had helicopter operations in the area, and each survey flight had to be coordinated with dispatch. Localized weather events and high winds were considerations operating at altitude in the Canadian Rockies. Additionally, the cliff walls affected GPS connectivity, which is a heavily relied on feature of survey flights. To get the resolution required of the horizontal sides of the quarry, we had to integrate ground photogrammetry with the UAS imagery, and edit the point-cloud to remove certain interpretive features, such as a large specimens box.

A low-resolution preview of the Walcott Quarry, created from a single flight over the area of interest, is available to the left of this paragraph. It can be manipulated by clicking and dragging, right click and drag for 3D perspective, and scroll to zoom. This element has been extracted from a larger model of the fossil ridge, including additional quarries. The result of this project will be used for interpretive displays by the Royal Ontario Museum in a new exhibit featuring the Burgess Shale. Additionally, it will be used by Parks Canada for monitoring changes on fossil ridge over time, as well as an online application for virtual tours of the site.

Exhibit B - University of Calgary UAS Technician

I have worked with the University of Calgary Dept. of Geography on a consulting basis to assist with UAS field operations, as well as providing technical support with the setup and configuration of both fixed-wing and multi-rotor aerial platforms. One of these projects, pictured here, involved argo-in access to a bog environment during the winter. The site was owned by an international oil and gas company, and extensive safety standards were met and adhered to.

Exhibit C - Kerry Wood Nature Centre Windstorm

Following an unprecedented windstorm across central Alberta, I was asked to create some imagery of a section of forest that was knocked down in the Kerry Wood Nature Centre for interpretive signage and public awareness. Using a combination of my technical knowledge of UAS surveys and my background in photography and media, I created a series of visuals for the Centre to use in explaining the dramatic event and predicting the effect it'll have on the landscape as the forest regrows and recovers. In addition to the imagery collected, we made a short case study video, which is embedded to the right of this paragraph.

Exhibit D - Custom Built UAS Platforms

Although a range of extremely effective UAS platforms are available off the shelf, I have experience customizing multrotors to carry advanced payloads as well as designing and building them from scratch. These images show a custom hexacopter I built, designed for heavy lifting and advanced missions. Capable of (and tested) flying in strong wind gusts of up to 50 km/h, reaching speeds of up to 70km/h, and carrying payloads of up to 8kg, this UAS is a powerful survey tool. In addition to sourcing the components and assembling the drone, configuration of the autopilot was required.