My main function: analyze geospatial data on the computer. The data show images looking down at Earth and Mars and are interesting to look at: lava flows, sand dunes, river channels, mountains. These are valuable to science, but the patterns and abstractness have artistic value. Many people recognize this and celebrate this by contributing to The Art of Planetary Science Exhibition in Tucson, AZ. There were many submissions from almost a hundred artists, and I’m happy to be one this year in 2018. I carved a HiRISE DTM, my first completed 3D carve of topography. I’m happy with the way it turned out!
Description of Piece: A place on Mars in miniature Fissure and Channel Southeast of Olympus Mons. Carved by a homemade computer numerical control (CNC) milling machine; surface tone painted by hand. Image data were provided by The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera in orbit around Mars, which were processed into a digital terrain model by the HiRISE Science Team.
I have to admit: Flying an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) such as the Trimble UX5-HP is a lot easier than flying a kite over lava flows. We covered several square kilometers in no time with this bird! There were two location: the south of Iceland (the Laki lava flow) and in the north of Iceland (the Holuhraun lava flow). We worked with a great group of students in the field participating in the Keck Geology Consortium. They helped us run our mobile UAV airport! I’ll post more details about our field work and the student projects soon. For now, here are a few images of us doing our volcanological mapping. The data will result in orthoimage data at 1-4 cm per pixel, and digital terrain models at 10 cm per pixel!
— RIS4E Science (@RIS4E_SSERVI) December 18, 2015
Check out the full video I created using the image and digital terrain model collected using a kite aerial photography (KAP) system.
I have created several digital, three dimensional (3D) models of interesting geologic features over the past few years. This page will catalog a number of these projects and provide examples. In my blog, I plan to describe the methods I’ve used to collect, create and display the data. To get started, I’ve included a small example of the mud volcanoes or “mud pots” that are located near the Salton Sea in California. I visited these features recently during a Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) field trip in October 2015. Below is a 3D viewer. If you want to explore in more detail, select the “Expand” link. Below the model is an embedded web map showing their location. More on this site and the field trip in a future blog post.
3D View of Mud Volcanoes near the Salton Sea, California
Field Photo of the Camera Flying over the Mud Volcanoes
Flying a kite for aerial photogrammetry was difficult because Iceland has relatively unpredictable weather, including the wind. I was able to make a couple of flights in the northern part of Iceland near the Holuhraun lava flow, which finished erupting just a few months before our arrival. Most of our mapping work during this summer of 2015 field campaign was accomplished using DJI Phantom 3 Professional unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). You can see more details here at this website, including publication. Much of this work is still underway.