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Exercise 3 - Plan your UAV-based data acquisition survey

Exercise 3 - Plan your UAV-based data acquisition survey#

It is now up to you to acquire your own data in the field. As discussed in previous sessions, the success of a data acquisition campaign depends greatly on survey planning.

The focus of this session is to plan and prepare everything that is needed for a UAV-based acquisition survey.


The well-known riverbed outcrop in Todalen is missing in the Svalbox DOM database.


Fig. 3 The red dot shows the location of the outcrop. Approximate coordinates:#

UTM: 33X E519671 N8677658
DD.DDDDD: 78.17154°N 15.85968°E
DD MM.MMM: 78°10.292'N 15°51.581'E
DD MM SS.S: 78°10'17.5"N 15°51'34.8"E

You need to work in pairs to create an acquisition survey that will gather the most accurate data possible from this location in order to produce a digital outcrop model.


Each group will have the following equipment:

  • 1 UAV (to choose between: DJI Mavic Mini 2, DJI Mavic 2 Air, DJI Mavic 2 Pro, DJI Phantom)

  • 3 batteries per group

  • Remote controller

  • Memory card

To design your flight plan and focus on the outcrop, take advantage of online resources. The AG-222 Compendium provides an extensive list of datasets and online resources that can be helpful to you.

Questions to ask yourself while planning a UAV acquisition survey

  • What is the (geological) interest/purpose of the DOM?

  • What factors should you consider before acquiring the data? (e.g. scale, resolution, precision requirements?)

  • What resources (e.g. batteries) do I have?

  • What limitations are present and what should I expect?

  • What flight pattern will I follow?

  • What camera timelapse will I use?

  • When are the best light conditions during the day? Should I expect many shadows in the outcrop?

  • What weaknesses does the acquisition survey have?

Equipment and software check#

Make sure that all your batteries are charged, memory card empty, you have all software updates, etc.

Pre-flight check list#

At the very least, the following information needs to be completed before going to the field.


    date:  # in DD/MM/YYYY
    location: # Where do you find your outcrop target?
    land: # PICK: Albert I Land / Andrée Land / Bünsow Land / Dickson Land / Haakon VII Land / Heer Land / James I Land / Nathorst Land / Nordenskiöld Land / Ny-Friesland / Olav V Land / Oscar II Land / Sabine Land / Sørkapp Land / Torell Land / Wedel Jarlsberg Land / Gustav Adolf Land / Gustav V Land / Orvin Land
    island:  # PICK: Hopen / Spitsbergen / Kong Karls Land / Edgeøya / Barentsøya / Tusenøyane / Nordaustlandet / Kvitøya / Prins Karls Forland / Bjørnøya / Other
    flight_description:  # Add a brief description of flight objectives

    uav_model:  # brand and model of the UAV

    documentation:  # Additional authorisations (if required)

weather_info:  # to be filled in the field
    cloud_cover:  # % of cloud cover
    temperature:  # in degrees Celsius
    wind_speed:  # in m/s
    visibility:  # in m
    precipitation:  # yes/no

Now you are ready to fly. Enjoy your flight, and always fly safely and considerately!