Public Lab Research note

yet more: small parafoil kite for Mobius camera

by patcoyle | July 20, 2015 23:00 20 Jul 23:00 | #12083 | #12083

What I want to do

Continue to explore smaller kites for use with Mobius Infragram plant cam. See prior note and note.

I had been cautioned that the pocket sled was not enough of a lifter and my preliminary results showed it was marginal. My next step up was the Premier Parafoil 5 kite. As shown by the main image, this is still a small package. The pouch has the kite, ribbon tail, 500 foot winder, bottle-top rig, and Mobius camera.


My attempt and results

I was delighted with flight performance of this kit as shown in this video. It does have the low angle of attack, long-reach characteristic of parafoils.

Photoshop photomerge of images and use of Ned Horning's tool follow:


Questions and next steps

I also still haven't yet tried to correct the fish-eye distortion and make composite map. Prior results used Gimp.

(updated: 7/20/15) Tried Gimp lens correction and stitched a few images in MapKnitter. I didn't aggressively crop the corrected images to just retain the "better" interior portion of the images. However, I did not see way to try to batch process the corrections. I looked at the Batch Image Manipulation Plugin (BIMP), but wasn't able to see how to get the actions. So, the alternate lens option looks more attractive, if a suitable non-fish-eye one works out.


Exported image and NDVI image processed with Ned's tool follow:



I also tried the standard version of Photoscan. However, I don't have enough computing power to do more than a few images at low res. Image and NDVI from a pdf of the model follow:



I have another stock Mobius coming to try alternate lens modifications with less fish-eye distortion which may be useful as well.

Also, I read the reviews on the Prism Stowaway Delta Kite and ordered it. I like the high angle of attack characteristic of deltas.

Why I'm interested

As noted in prior posts, portable, "pocket" aerial photo mapping tools have a place in our tool kits.


Could you run barrel distortion on the photomerge instead of batch processing each individual image?

on second thought, it'd be more like a spherical distortion...nevermind


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I'm very interested to hear how your setups work as they are very similar to mine. As I mentioned on one of your earlier notes, I posted some detailed reviews on my note here- However, since the note was published I did receive my Prism Bora Parafoil Kite so perhaps I'll have to give it a try soon!
IMHO, my best kite is the French Military Kite from Gomberg but I did notice that Prism makes their own variation of the FMK. While I find Prism's aesthetic kind of creepy (in an early 90's extreme sports kind of way), I have been very impressed with the overall quality of the materials.

Also, I was in a fancy toy store in Ogunquiit Maine the other day and noticed they had a whole selection of Prism and ITW kites. I was especially intrigued by the little"pocket foils" that come in a little pouch. It would be awesome if they could actually lift a Mobius!

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