Low-cost UAV applications in dynamic tropical volcanic landforms
Granados Bolaños, Sebastián
Quesada Román, Adolfo
Alvarado Induni, Guillermo E.
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The recent and growing development and availability of unmanned aerial vehicles/systems (UAV, UAS, or “drones”) in volcanology has promoted a significant advance in volcanic surveillance of active volcanoes and in the characterization of volcanic landforms and hazards.However, in the tropicswith heavy rainfall, deep volcanic soils and high relief, UAV surveying for volcanic geomorphology and volcanic hazards seems to be a relatively unexplored technique. Our aimis to present and promote innovative low-cost (<$3000) UAV applications in volcanology to reduce costs and improve high-resolution quality (up to 8 cm/pixel) data acquisition in highly dynamic landscapes. Our results contribute to the state of the art of UAV applications in volcanic landforms in tropical developing countries where nearly half of the globally active volcanoes are located. Our findings prove that UAV's are a low-cost technique that can map large extensions of geomorphological features with accessibility limitations due to geological hazards and/or private property restrictions in short time.We surveyed four active volcanic sites in Costa Rica, Central America to illustrate potential applications of UAV mapping and geomorphological analysis of lava flows, debris avalanches, lahar deposits (debris flows) and biogeomorphic landscape changes due to forest succession. Analysis derived from the digital imagery captured by the UAV allowed to determine accurate volume calculations, surface roughness characteristics, morphometric quantifications, supervised surface classifications, and in combination with hydraulic modelling to assess hazards in urban planning. We discuss the utility, limitations, and future directions of low-cost UAV surveying in the geomorphological and geological analysis of tropical volcanic landforms and processes.
External link to the itemhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2020.107143
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