Actionable Stitched Images from an Unmanned Aerial System

Brian R. Allen


This thesis investigates the capability of a commercial off the shelf (COTS) unmanned aerial vehicle, camera, and software to accurately capture and represent a portion of an airfield for condition evaluation. Three separate flight tests were performed exploring different means of camera shutter control and altitudes. The individual images captured were then stitched into a single orthomosaic which provides an aerial view allowing for dimensional measurements and relative location. The results found show that COTS hardware and software is possible of capturing images with ground resolution of less than 6 mm. The orthomosaic generated was proven to maintain dimensional accuracy. The digital elevation model generated was able to identify terrain elevation differences of less than one foot. This provides a proof of concept that for less than five thousand dollars a civil engineer squadron could have an organic ability to accurately assess and quantify an airfield digitally. This will help ensure the limited resources available get to the right place at the right time.