Public Lab Research note

Low-Flying KAP

by dbenjamin | August 13, 2015 17:41 13 Aug 17:41 | #12141 | #12141

Today we attempted a flight over the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve in Cleveland, Ohio. We used an airfoil kite, the Saturn V camera rig, and a Canon S100 with Color IR. Wind speeds were probably between 5 - 10 mph.



We were unable to get high in the air today due to the lack of wind speeds and concerns about nearby aircraft. We have been having bad luck with wind nearly every time we have tried to get out and fly since we got the Saturn V. I also noticed after the flight that the left plastic guard was showing in each of the photos. I guess it had slipped forward too far. I think I will put a little tape down to prevent it from shifting.

The Saturn V worked very well, despite the other problems we experienced.

Flight Notes:


  • Model: PowerShot S100
  • ISO: 125
  • Shutter speed: 1/800 second (Tv)
  • Focus: manual on infinity
  • Focal length: 24mm (eq.)


  • Version: 2.0
  • Sketch: version 2.041
  • Mode: Mode 1 (faster version of mode 0 with 4 tilt angles, 8 pan positions at and above the horizon, 6 below the horizon, and 3 at nadir, 25 photos per cycle)
  • Customization: None


  • Kite: HQ Flowform 2.0
  • Duration: ~15 minutes
  • Photos taken: 122

Panorama stitching:

  • Software: Microsoft ICE
  • Post processing: No adjustments were made to any photos before stitching.

Possibly Coming Soon: OpenDroneMap


Hooray 360°! Those are nice crisp photos. I like the false color IR. What filter and white balance setting did you use? There was no post processing?

The tubing in the photos is a good cautionary tale. Did MS ICE stitch them all together even with the tubing in each photo?

It's great to know that the S100 can handle the fast version of that mode. It must have been taking a photo every two seconds?

I understand what this guy is experiencing:
But what is this guy doing with the kitten puppet?

Congratulations on the successful flight.


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We have an NGB filter installed in the camera to create color IR photos. I didn't touch the white balance settings on the camera, so I assume default? I will check next time.

I did no post-processing, not even to cut out the tubing. I imagine it lowered the quality of the stitching a bit but I really wanted to post about the success of the rig moreso than the quality of the photos. With better conditions, I hope to get a very high quality product.

The camera is taking photos every 2 seconds. I think I'm going to use setting 3 (9x5~) anyways for more photos = more overlap between photos.

(I think I am taking off my glove while on the phone with my boss? At this point we were beginning to reel back in after a scare with a low-flying Cessna)

One thing about these flights is the in higher winds, it can be difficult to bring the kite back in. We've talked about getting a reel that sticks in the ground or other methods of automatically reeling in.

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Ah, the Event 38 NGB filter. That filter gives really interesting results. I haven't really figured out how it works so well. It must be the steepness of the cutoffs on either side of the red gap. It apparently works well with either sunny or cloudy white balance presets. It would be interesting to compare the two. Not only does it produce nice looking CIR straight from the camera, it also makes good NDVI, both without custom white balance settings. Here is NDVI from one of your photos:
If you have Lightroom or Photoshop and Bridge, you can batch crop all your photos to cut off the tubing. But it looks like ICE can deal with it.

You probably had enough space there to walk the kite down. One of you could have held the winder and the other flip a carabiner or something on the line and walk toward the kite. Winding in can be a workout, but it looks like you have a fancy winder. Maybe it is not designed to actually do much winding.

The low-flying Cessna suggests that you probably should not have been flying a kite there. You were just a mile from the airport, and directly in line with the runway. If you are closer than five miles from an airport, you are supposed to submit a Notice to Airmen. It might not have been approved for that location. Or maybe your flight would have been limited to 200 feet or so.

It's great to hear about your flight.


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