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Impact of three-dimensional attitude variations of an unmanned aerial vehicle magnetometry system on magnetic data qualityNormal access

Authors: C.A. Walter, A. Braun and G. Fotopoulos
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 67, No 2, February 2019 pp. 465 - 479
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2478.12727
Organisations: Wiley
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 13.51Mb )

Optically pumped vapour magnetometers have an orientation dependency in measuring the scalar component of the ambient magnetic field which leads to challenges for integration with mobile platforms. Quantifying the three-dimensional attitude variations (yaw, pitch and roll) of an optically pumped vapour magnetometer, while in-flight and suspended underneath a rotary unmanned aerial vehicle, aids in the successful development of reliable, high-resolution unmanned aerial vehicle magnetometry surveys. This study investigates the in-flight three-dimensional attitude characteristics of a GEM Systems Inc. GSMP-35U potassium vapour magnetometer suspended 3 m underneath a D` a-Ji ¯ang Innovations S900 multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle. A series of unmanned aerial vehicle-borne attitude surveys quantified the three-dimensional attitude variations that a simulated magnetometer payload experienced while freely (or semi-rigidly) suspended underneath the unmanned aerial vehicle in fair weather. Analysis of the compiled yaw, pitch and roll data resulted in the design of a specialized semi-rigid magnetometer mount, implemented to limit magnetometer rotation about the yaw axis. A subsequent unmanned aerial vehicleborne magnetic survey applying this specialized mount resulted in more than 99% of gathered GSMP-35U magnetic data being within industry standards. Overall, this study validates that maintaining magnetometer attitude variations within quantified limits (±5° yaw, ±10° pitch and roll) during flight can yield reliable, continuous and high-resolution unmanned aerial vehicle-borne magnetic measurements.

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