International Programs

Airborne GPS/Inertial Systems for Mapping

Many Earth science mapping applications especially in environmentally sensitive areas can be realized more efficiently and economically with the reduction of ground surveys and the photogrammetric collection and triangulation of control and tie point data.

This can be achieved in near real-time by direct measurement or georeferencing of the exterior orientation of a high resolution imaging sensors using an integrated system comprised of GPS receiver and an INS component. A crucial issue to mapping application and direct georeferencing is the accuracy and reliability achievable by such an integrated system. The goal of this project is to research the practical application of airborne integrated digital sensor and GPS/Inertial navigation systemsfor near real time topographic mapping, and develop GPS/Inertial navigation-based photogrammetry procedures for mapping with airborne direct digital imagery. 

he Digital Sensor System’s (DSS) Glen Canyon overflight data supplied by Applanix, in FY03 did not fully meet mapping requirements due to system mechanical problems. A report of the findings was presented at the end of FY04 and a USGS Open-File Report is near publication. A follow-up March 2004 overflight data acquisition in the wildfire burnt areas of the San Andreas Fault system using an improved DSS 2.5-second cycle camera was successfully collected and processed with a high degree of accuracy. This work was done in collaboration with the USGS Earthquake Hazards Caltech Seismological Lab as a first phase test and development of advanced near real-time technology for the observation and monitoring of change along faults. Documentation of the findings for publication is in progress. A second phase Ohio State University and USGS proposal to use ALSM coupled with a digital camera to accurately map pre and post earthquake zones was approved by the National Science Foundation in May. This second phase which will begin in FY05 will encompass the southern San Andreas Fault System as well as the San Jacinto, and the Blackwater and Harper Valley faults of the eastern California shear zone. The lessons learned will enable the future deployment of such a system to Antarctica in support of the USGS Polar Program.

USGS Mission Tie In:
The project supports the USGS Polar Program by developing newly advanced near real-time technology for the observation and mapping of change without intrusive and time consuming ground surveys.