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DATA PROCESSING & ANALYSIS

The Rover Institute strives to acquire, process, analyze, and distribute data effeciently and effectively. At the same time, we are committed to exploring new methods for processing data and producing solutions to achieve real world value.

GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS

GIS AND SPATIAL ANALYSIS


GIS enables the analysis of events unfolding upon the earth's surface. Spatial relationships between features on the ground can be evaluated in innumerable ways to better understand trends and patterns of activity. GIS is used in a wide variety of industries, from natural resources to national security. At TRI, we use GIS to better understand how to manage and utilize resoures, and plan for the future.


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Figure 1. Series of maps depicting glacial recession of the Chacaltaya Glacier in Bolivia.

3D MODELS AND DEMS

DEVELOPING TOPOGRAPHIC VISUALIZATIONS & DATA


We live in a three-dimensional (3D) world, yet most spatial information is analyzed and distributed in two-dimensional space. 3D models and digitial elevation models (DEMs) provide topographic information useful in analyzing environments and conveying information to audiences. 3D models provide powerful visualizations that enable both researchers and audiences to engage information in 3D. DEMs provide elevation data critical for understanding spatial events. TRI has considerable experience producing 3D models and DEMs.


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Figure 1. 3D model of a section of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River in Los Angeles, California.

STRUCTURE FROM MOTION


Structure from Motion is a powerful software solution for developing a variety of products from aerial photographs. The software uses principles of photogrammetry to align images and generate point clouds and mosaics. End products include, point clouds, orthophotographs, 3D models, and digital surface models (DSM). Through the use of ground control points, UAS or Camera integrated GPS, or validation against preexisting data, SfM products can be of extremely high quality. TRI specializes in developing and testing SfM products.

GEOREFERENCING AERIAL DATA


Data collected from the air needs to be georeferenced before it can be effectively used in GIS and remote sensing applications. Structure from motion software can automatically georeference data collected with cameras that have internal GPS, and there are simple solutions for geotagging images with GPS data collected by UAS flight controllers. However, the accuracy of aerial data can be greatly improved through the use of ground control points (GCP) established with high-end GNSS equipment. TRI has experience operating GNSS equipment for use in UAS and geospatial applications.

REMOTE SENSING

SEE MORE THROUGH DATA TRANSFORMATIONS


Remote sensing techniques can be used to highlight specific features in an environment. False color composites can be used to evaluate plant vigor, and supervised and unsupervised classifications can be used to distinguish different plant species from one another. TRI has experience performing a variety of remote sensing transformations and continues to explore new ways to visualize data.


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Figure 1. Remote sensing techniques enable visual alterations of a scene. In this example, an ISO cluster unsupervised classification was performed on a mosaic comprised of images collected with an sUAS. This is a simple example, but more precise processing techniques on multiple images collected at various dates, can provide critical information on changes of vegetation distribution and abundance over time.

MOBILE MAPPING

IMPROVING DATA VIA MOBILE MAPPING


Mobile mapping techniques provide a variety of ways to collect data on the ground. Survey-grade GNSS equipment can be used to identify the precise latitude, longitude, and elevation of points, lines, and polygon features. TRI uses mobile mapping techniques to establish ground control points for georeferencing data collected from the air. We also use GNSS products to map biotic and abiotic elements within environments, such as invasive plant species and water features. Additionally, we have experience in using total stations to generate point clouds to develop triangulated irregular networks (TIN) and other products.


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Figure 1. TIN derived from a point cloud generated with a Nikon NPL-352 Total Station.

CREATING BENCHMARK DATASETS


Data collected on the ground can be transformed in various ways to cross-check photographs acquired from the air. Together, total stations and GPS base and rover equipment can be used to develop point clouds with centimeter accuracy. This data can serve as a benchmark for statistical analysis and data validation.