Recording archaeological sites and monuments with UAVs

Call for Papers

Session A3

Chairs | Marco BLOCK-BERLITZ / Benjamin DUCKE, Germany / Peter DORNINGER, / Christian BRIESE, Austria

The degrees of freedom in archaeological data processing, analysis and interpretation are physically constrained by the limited number of perspectives that archaeologists can have on their sites. Recently, unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have evolved to allow capturing data from previously impossible view-points and at high resolution.

This session is dedicated to a fast growing technology trend in archaeology: UAVs equipped with digital sensors for the documentation of heritage sites and monuments from above. The increasing power and ease-of-operation of UAVs, ranging from off-the-shelves consumer devices to highly specialised solutions, make them ever more versatile carrier systems for a range of digital sensors. In the most straight-forward case, airborne cameras can be used to produce classic photogrammetry products, such as high-resolution terrain models and ortho-rectified images. But other options, such as infrared imaging or even airborne laser scanning, are also possible..

But at the same time, the technological challenges are as manifold as the possibilities. Limited energy supplies put tough constraints on payload and reach, as do the computational demands of methods such as Structure from Motion (SfM) for 3D reconstruction. These challenges call for optimised recording and data processing strategies as much as for technological improvements.

Currently, the legislative authorities of many countries worldwide specify legal frameworks for UAV technology. Contributions related to legal issues are therefore also welcome, as are great ideas for future applications, even if they might not yet be possible to  realize, due to legal or technological restrictions.

We invite contributions that explore these and other applications and aspects of UAV technology in archaeology and cultural heritage management.