Kite Aerial Photography (KAP)

Highlights:
  • High resolution aerial photos.
  • Photos and field data are gathered on the same date, so spatial data (photos) and field data can be correlated.
  • The entire setup fits easily in a day pack (small, light and inexpensive).
  • Ideal to use in remote areas where no detailed spatial information is available.
  • It can be use on land or on sea.

No_drone
Why use KAP and not a Drone?

Both technologies have advantages and disadvantages, some of the KAP positive points are:

  • Easier to transport, specially if you use soft kites.
  • Longer shooting sessions.
  • Relatively inexpensive and a simpler technology than drones.
  • The only batteries you need are for the camera and the R/C (if you use it).
KAP Concepts:

A camera is lifted using a kite and is triggered automatically or remotely to take aerial photographs. For this you need:

  • Kite: kite aerial photographs are taken using single line kites. They must be as stable as possible and produce enough lift for your rig. In the market there are many types and sizes of kites you can use for KAP (Flow Form, Dopero, Rokkaku, Delta, etc.). The kite you choose will depend on wind speed conditions and the weight of your rig. In my fleet I have three kites: Dopero 100 for low winds , FlowForm 30 for medium winds (11km/h to 24km/h) and FlowForm 16 for high winds(20km/h to 40km/h). The rig total weight is 0.8 kg (1.7 lb).
  • Camera Cradle and a suspension system: The cradle is the structure where you put together the camera and the shutter release system. In my setup I used a doble U design in aluminum. The suspension system connect the cradles to the kite line. I use the a picavet cross to provide a level platform for the camera cradle. See the Internet resources links for more information.
  • Camera: A high resolution (14 megapixels) digital camera is used in auto mode. A 8 GB o bigger memory card is recommended, specially for building photo mosaics. I use a Pentax Optio WG-1 for vertical photos and a GoPro for oblique photos. Note: I started using a 4 megapixels camera with excellent results.
  • Shutter release system: Actually you can program the cameras. I set the shooting mode every 10 seg, number of shot 360 and focus to infinity. That give me an hour of photos. Before getting a programmable camera, I controlled it using the same gear of radio control (R/C) model airplanes. On the cradle you need: a servo (motor) to trigger the shutter, a radio receiver(Rx) and the pack of batteries to power the servo and Rx. On the ground a 2-channel transmitter.
  • Line and winders: A 500 ft, 200 lb Dacor kite line is needed. With this you can take the kite up to 100 m (aprox: 295 ft or 30 story building). I use a hose winders for my kite line.
  • GPS (optional): If you want to georeference your photos, you can use a GPS mounted on the cradle. You need to synchronize your camera clock with the GPS. In my setup I use a Garmin Vista HCx with the track taken every second (recorded in a miniSD memory card) and set the altimeter to 0 m with the ground or use the sea as a reference. In this way I have X,Y,Z coordinates for every photo. To assign the coordinates to the photos .jpg files I use ExifTool software
Internet resource:
Examples: Archipelago Los Roques National Park
Dos Mosquises Sur cay
Dos Mosquises Sur cay (Oblique view)
Dos Mosquises Sur cay (Vertical view)
Dos Mosquises Sur cay (Vertical view)
Examples: Aves Island Photo Mosaic
Original set of aerial photos
Original set of aerial photos
Orthophoto map
Orthophoto map
Congress Presentation:
2013

2012

  • Lazo, R., García, J., De los Llanos, V. Utilización de Técnicas no Convencionales para el Levantamiento Cartográfico. Casos: Isla de Aves y Ciénaga de Ocumare. II Congreso Venezolano de Sistemas de Información Geográfica SIG (COVESIG), October 2012, Mérida, Venezuela.
  • Lazo, R., García, J., De los Llanos, V. Utilización de Técnicas no Convencionales para el Levantamiento de la Cartografía de Isla de Aves. I Congreso Venezolano de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación en el Marco de la LOCTI y del PEII, September 2012, Caracas, Venezuela.
  • Lazo, R., García, J., De los Llanos, V. Utilización de Técnicas no Convencionales para el Levantamiento de la Cartografía de Isla de Aves. IX Jornadas Técnicas de la Fundación Instituto de Ingeniería para Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico, September 2012, Caracas, Venezuela

2007

Photos Publication:

Devenish, C., Díaz Fernández, D. F., Clay, R. P., Davidson, I. & Yépez Zabala, I. EDS. (2009) Important Bird Areas Americas – Priority sites for biodiversity conservation. BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 16).

Awards:

Photographic Contest Art Photography in Science (Universidad Central de Venezuela), “Special Mention“, 2007.

 Contact between two worlds
Contact between two worlds
 Footprint and green turtle nests
Green turtles footprints and nests