FORCAST is a Spin.Works project with the purpose of building a portable Ground Control Station for unmanned aerial vehicles applied to forest management, specifically for two missions: fire detection, localisation and monitoring, and forest inventory. The project involves the development both the hardware and software components of the ground station, as well as a field test campaign conducted in a realistic scenario. The small unmanned aerial vehicles used for testing have also been entirely developed at Spin.Works.

The integrated UAV system for forest management was presented at the 2013 UAV-g conference (download paper here).


UAV Systems for Forest Management

  • High-resolution imaging
  • Low image acquisition costs
  • Low revisiting times
  • Largely automated user product generation
  • Integrated customer service

Ground Control Station

  • Fully transportable device: single, compact, easily deployable package.
  • Multi-channel communications: data telemetry, real-time video, remote piloting.
  • Redundant energy system with three power modes: battery only, battery recharging using external power, and external power only.
  • Visualisation and real-time configuration tools: mission planning system, mission and vehicle configuration interface, head-up display (over real-time video).

Mission Planning System

  • Automated multi-segment mission plan generation, based on desired imaging area, cruise altitude, ground resolution.
  • Automated flight imaging sequence generation, depending on vehicle specifications, and required lateral and longitudinal overlays.

Mission Control and Monitoring System

  • Head-Up Display: visualisation of real-time flight data, including both sensor data, navigation data and system status data over video received from frontal camera.
  • Flight-plan monitoring: real-time trajectory and imaging data overlaid on original mission plan.
  • In-flight GNC parameter updates: embedded remote piloting hardware interface.

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