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Multi-rotors UAV for hydrothermal alterations in the Costa Rica Volcanic Mountains

U.P.M. y U. de Costa Rica


Computer Vision Group at U.P.M. 

Hidrobiology Group at U.P.M.

Topography and Geomatic at U.P.M.

University of Costa Rica


Researchers at Computer Vision Group and Hydrobiology Group at the UPM, in collaboration with the University of Costa Rica have established an international cooperation program in order to evaluate the use of Quadrotor UAVs for visual inspection, thermal and geo-referenced data acquisition (pressure, temperature gases and others) of active volcanoes in the central mountains of Costa Rica.

This kind of vehicle allows the acquisition of real time information in previously inaccessible areas, such as the gas plume emanating from the volcano. It allows having a better modeling of the Volcano state and its activity, by increasing the data acquisition speed as well as improving the researchers safety. These advantages also include the low cost operation and a high frequency in the acquisition of such data derived of the use of this kind of vehicles.


The main goal of this study is to optimize remote sensing techniques of hydrothermal alteration and hot spots on volcanic mountain through the acquisition of thermal and visible images with an AscTec Pelican Quadrotor. Experimental tests have been conducted by UPM researchers at the Poas and Irazu volcanoes craters.


The employed UAV has being autonomous operated in all phases of its mission,. The aircraft payload includes different types of sensors and cameras for the acquisition and storage of geo-referenced. This information is then analyzed by scientists in order to monitor and study volcanoes activity. The first stage of this project has just finished in January 2012. It represents an important milestone in the field of prevention of disasters due to volcanic eruptions, as well as be a new research instrument for real time monitoring of active volcanoes.


Costa Rica TV:  TELETICA

Costa Rica University R+D web page: UCR

ARN Digital web page: ARN Digital

U.P.M. web page: U.P.M.

Also part of this new in Spanish TV1



Onboard Image

Imágen de la pluma y crater capturada abordo del UAV.

Pelican Quadrotor Volando cerca de la pluma en el Volcan Poas





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