Drones and aerial surveillance

Dr Jacob Bongers using drone technology for site surveillance

Senior Research Associate Dr Jacob Bongers has recently been using a DJI Mavic Pro drone to capture aerial photographs for surveying the site at Pashash. Before joining the Sainsbury Research Unit at UEA, Jacob conducted archaeological fieldwork in Portugal, Chile, Ethiopia, Oman, and Peru. He brings his skills in archaeological excavation and survey, mapping, GIS, photogrammetry, aerial photography, and 3D modelling to the project.

Jacob flying the DJI Mavic Pro drone

Jacob has been using a program called Agisoft Photoscan Pro to process the aerial photographs and produce three kinds of output: 1) 3D models, 2) digital elevation models (DEMs), and 3) orthomosaics. Digital elevation models are 2D representations of elevation values across the photographed area. Orthomosaics are geometrically corrected images of the photographed area, composed of several “stitched” photos.

The drone work has been nothing short of a great success. Jacob has been able to produce a full model of Pashash with over 900 photos! The results are very informative for the project because they highlight certain platforms at the site that may have served ceremonial functions. In addition, they have “digitally preserved” Pashash, thereby effectively producing a digital record of an important part of Peruvian cultural heritage.

The team look forward to sharing the full output of the drone site surveillance at a later date…. Stay tuned!

Carmelo and Manuel drone gazing

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