Adoption of precision agriculture techniques requires the development of specialized tools that provide spatially distributed information. Both flying platforms and airborne sensors are being continuously evolved to cover the needs of plant and soil sensing at affordable costs. Due to restrictions in payload, flying platforms are usually limited to carry a single sensor on board. The aim of this work is to present the development of a vertical take-off and landing autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (VTOL UAV) system for the simultaneous acquisition of high resolution vertical images at the visible, near infrared (VNIR) and thermal infrared (TIR) wavelengths. A system was developed that has the ability to trigger two cameras simultaneously with a fully automated process and no pilot intervention. A commercial unmanned hexacopter UAV platform was optimized to increase reliability, ease of operation and automation. The designed systems communication platform is based on a reduced instruction set computing (RISC) processor running Linux OS with custom developed drivers in an efficient way, while keeping the cost and weight to a minimum. Special software was also developed for the automated image capture, data processing and on board data and metadata storage. The system was tested over a kiwifruit field in northern Greece, at flying heights of 70 and 100m above the ground. The acquired images were mosaicked and geo-corrected. Images from both flying heights were of good quality and revealed unprecedented detail within the field. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) was calculated along with the thermal image in order to provide information on the accurate location of stressors and other parameters related to the crop productivity. Compared to other available sources of data, this system can provide low cost, high resolution and easily repeatable information to cover the requirements of precision agriculture.
Water resources management is a comprehensive planning process dimensioning all water related components. With this in mind, the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires reliable and continuous water monitoring and collection of qualitative information in order to support decision making concerning water pollution events, focusing primarily on civil protection. The present research study initiates the coupling of water quality - quantity monitoring techniques and telemetric systems with geographic information system (GIS) based map server technologies for the near real time warning about potential water pollution events. The study is being implemented in the Greek part of the transboundary Nestos river basin and forms part of the Bulgarian and Greek European Territorial Cooperation Programme 2007-2013. The aim of this partnership is to develop an operational supportive mechanism for the Competent Authorities of water management in both countries in order to facilitate the planning and implementation of sustainable water management along with civil protection.