A blimp-based remote sensing system for low-altitude monitoring of plant variables: a preliminary experiment for agricultural and ecological applications
A blimp-based remote sensing system was developed for monitoring land surface variables from low altitudes. The blimp was a helium-filled envelope 23m long with a maximum diameter of 7m. The blimp was designed to cruise at a maximum speed of 40kmh-1 at altitudes between 30 and 400m, under radio control, with a payload of approximately 100kg. The radio-controlled data acquisition system consisted of four monochromatic CCD video cameras with interference filters. The ability of the blimp to hover allowed the collection of a continuous set of high-quality images. The spatial variability between and within agricultural fields was mapped at a fine spatial resolution. The blimp-based system proved to be suitable for low-altitude remote sensing of plant variables.