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Testing a small UAS for mapping artisanal diamond mining sites in Africa

April 1, 2015

Remote sensing technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate. At the forefront of the new technological developments are unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The advent of small, lightweight, low-cost, and user-friendly UAS is greatly expanding the potential applications of remote sensing technology and improving the set of tools available to researchers seeking to map and monitor terrain from above. In this article, we explore the applications of a small UAS for mapping informal diamond mining sites in Africa. We found that this technology provides aerial imagery of unparalleled resolution in a data-sparse, difficult to access, and remote terrain.