Gatewing UAV delivers high-res digital mapping
- By Patrick Marshall
- Jul 15, 2011
The military has been doing it for years. Now other organizations can have a drone of their own.
Gatewing, a Belgian company, has just released the X100, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with a 10 megapixel camera and designed for orthogonal photography and digital mapping.
According to the Gatewing staff, the drone first appeared about six months ago and is recently available in the United States. It definitely attracted a good deal of attention at the ESRI User Conference in San Diego (July 11-15).
The $69,000 drone has a wingspan of 39 inches and weighs 4.4 pounds. Launched with a catapult, the propeller-driven X100 is battery-powered. It can stay aloft for half an hour at its default flight altitude of 492 feet. During that time, it can photograph nearly a square mile at a time, taking 1,000 photographs.
The raw images are processed into orthophotos and are georeferenced by included software, the company said. The result is LIDAR-quality (with a pixel resolution of five centimeters at default altitude with 12-centimeter elevation accuracy) orthophotos that can be turned into terrain maps.
The X100 won’t replace other aerial imaging technologies. It is limited to RGB imaging, and its maximum resolution and altitude range (492 feet to 2,460 feet) make it best suited to such uses as local infrastructure mapping, topographical surveying and vegetation monitoring.
According to Gatewing, the ESRI conference is the company’s first appearance in the U.S. market, although it has sold the X100 to two U.S. customers: the University of Long Beach and a surveyor in Alaska.
More information is available at www.gatewing.com.
Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.