Ancient civilisations meet futuristic map maker

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Mon 3rd Sep, 2012

Mapping an archaeological site usually take years to complete, but not anymore

Researchers have invented "SUAVe" - an acronym for Semi-autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, which is a flying wonder that can do all the mapping work in just a few minutes. The new system is now being tested in Peru at an abandoned colonial era town of Machu Llaqta. If all goes as planned, it could revolutionise archeology.

The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Vanderbilt archaeologist Dr. Steven Wernke and engineering professor Julie A. Adams from the USA. "You will unpack it, specify the area that you need it to cover and then launch it," Dr. Wernke said. "When it completes capturing the images, it lands and the images are downloaded, matched into a large mosaic, and transformed into a map."

Dr. Wernke added, "The SUAVe system could be a way to create a digital archival registry of archaeological sites before it's too late." In addition, there might be other applications for this system, such as tracking the progress of global warming and assessing the situation at disaster sites.

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