Thursday, 10 September 2015

Duct Tape

There is a great line in Gran Torino where Clint Eastwood explains the relevance of Duct Tape for almost everything. Well duct tape plays a large role in R&D too. Here it is on the XP1 forming the outside cover of an early-stage sensor pod, keeping the cables under control in the interior, holding a GPS receiver to the dash, and helping route cables through doors with minimum damage. We considered 3D printing the mounts but my experiences with the 3D printer in Maynooth University library scuppered that.

This is the Experimental Platform 1 (XP1), our Mobile Mapping System (MMS). Most of my academic journal papers up until now have covered this in some shape or form and my PhD thesis related to creating a method for system performance assessment. Don't let the duct tape fool you - it is just there for expediency. There is some serious kit on the XP1:

1. An IXSEA LandINS on the back provides navigation info through periods of GNSS outage and allows you to record and georeference data captured in tunnels. We were working in the Dublin Port Tunnel yesterday, traffic was delayed - if you were delayed, then blame us :) But it is for your safety, and to improve that.

2. Beside the IXSEA is a GNSS receiver.

3. At the rear right wheel is a Distance Measurement Unit (DMI). This is a survey grade odometer which can be used to help control drift in the INS. The Zero Velocity Updates (ZUPTS) that this provides tell the INS when the vehicle is at a complete halt. Any movement it is measuring is therefore drift and can be compensated for.

4. The Duct Tape box at the front right is an Agrosensor, a multispectral camera recording in G,R and 2x NIR.

5. The front middle sensor is a cheapo Go-Pro for recording video.

6. The front left sensor is a thermal camera.

7. There is also a roadhawk inside the front window.

The Riegl VQ-250, a 2D laser scanner capable of 300,000 measurements each second was not used in this survey. It usually sits up beside the IXSEA and GNSS antenna. I've been working with satellite and drone imagery so much over the last three years that I have not been helping out as much with the MMS surveys. Good to see it again.

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About Me

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My name is Conor. I am a Lecturer at the Department of Geography at Maynooth University. These few lines will (hopefully) chart my progress through academia and the world of research.