School of GeoSciences

Airborne GeoSciences

The Airborne GeoSciences Facility operates a fleet of manned and unmanned aircraft equipped with state-of the art sensors to support research and teaching across the School of GeoSciences and beyond.

Manned Aircraft

We operate a Diamond HK36 TTC-ECO Dimona aircraft, registration G-GEOS, equipped with a sophisticated suite of scientific instruments for atmoshperic measurements, remote sensing and photography.

Dimona aircraft at sunset

By combining high quality sensors with a light aircraft that can fly safely at low speeds and low altitudes, we are a able to acheive data resolution comparable to that from Unmanned Aircraft, but over much wider areas and without the regulatory line-of-sight constraints and ground access requirements associated with those platforms.


Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Airborne GeoSciences operates a fleet of UAS, also known as Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), or drones, equipped with a range of optical sensors.

We are able to provide direct field operations, equipment loan and training, as well as platform development and sensor integration support.

Image of Airborne GeoSciences UAV in action in Glenshee

UAS provide geospatial data of unprecedented resolution, very high repeatability and generally low cost, as well as offering an extremely portable solution for remote, worldwide deployment. Due to technical and regulatory constraints they are generally most effective and efficient at relatively small spatial scales.


Sensor Inventory

We manage and operate a diverse sensor inventory for airborne applications, including optical remote sensing and imaging systems and atmospheric instruments. These sensors are deployed on our manned and unmanned aircraft fleets.

view of trees at Griffin forst from abofve

There is increasing scope for sensor interchangeability between manned and unmanned platforms.


Computational Resources

Dedicated workstations and software are provided for handling the very large datasets produced by airborne platforms – in particular for image processing using structure-from-motion techniques and multi- and hyper-spectral image processing.

At time of writing four workstations are available for use by researchers and students.


Calibration and Evaluation Facilities

Alongside the airborne sensors the facility operates a range of calibration and testing equipment, in particular high-quality reference sensors for temperature, dewpoint and pressure, along with calibrated millivolt sources and a large temperature controlled chamber for environmental testing of equipment. Although used for aircraft systems this equipment is equally useful for any other field equipment and is available to users for wide-ranging applications.