Observing the Calving Dynamics of Breiðamerkurjökull, Iceland, with Repeat UAV Aerial Photogrammetry

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:47 AM
Alexander H. Jarosch, University of Iceland, Institute of Earth Sciences, Reykjavik, Iceland
Since the summer of 2014, a cost-effective, fixed-wing UAV platform is used to map changes at the calving front of Breiðamerkurjökull, one of the largest outlet-glaciers of Vatnajökull, Iceland. The utilized wide angle camera (21 mm equivalent) delivers aerial images with a ground pixel resolution of approximately 18 cm, which are subsequently combined to digital elevation models (DEMs) mapping the calving front. Ground control points in the study area, measured with L1 phase GNSS receivers, are used to geo-locate the produced DEMs and ensure high quality co-registration between subsequent data sets. The 2 m wing span UAV platform is capable of 40 - 60 minutes of autonomous flight, guided by an open-source, open-hardware autopilot system (pixhawk.org) and thus can map rather large areas of the calving glacier. I will present results from the 2014 field season during which the calving front of Breiðamerkurjökull has been mapped repeatedly with data acquisition intervals ranging from hours to weeks. A lidar dataset from 2011 of the study region is used to validate the acquired DEM data and accuracy/precision statistics will be presented. I will also detail the UAV platform design, including instrumentation and flight mission planning.