Developments in budget remote sensing for the geosciences



Acquiring outcrop, landform or other surface topography data in the field for the geosciences has always been challenging. Accessibility is often a problem, time is usually limited and an ideal spatial and temporal coverage often has to be compromised to be more manageable. However, emerging technologies, and some re-inventions of rather older ones, can overcome many of these constraints in a very exciting and budget-friendly manner. This article briefly introduces and reviews four major recent developments in budget remote sensing, specifically the use of blimps, kites, drones or UAVs (including quadcopters), and structure from motion (SFM) software. Both scientific and applied case studies are given and some possibilities for future studies are highlighted. Overall, the potential for these technologies to revolutionise the geosciences is clear and should be opportunistically embraced by scientists, resource and hazard managers and educators alike.