Welcome to the home page for Archaeology Southwest’s 3D mapping system, which we have decided to call the Gilacopter. Technically, the Gilacopter is a 3DR Solo light UAV (un-manned, autonomous vehicle), a.k.a. “drone.” The Gilacopter is equiped with both a specially modified GoPro camera for aerial mapping and 3D modeling, but the ‘copter can also carry an near-infrared sensor to examine potential buried adobe. This “Infrared Riding Hood” attaches to the Gilacopter’s instrument bay for specialized research projects.
In good weather conditions, the Gilacopter can survey about a square kilometer per battery charge, and the photographs collected are processed in Agisoft Photoscan to generate detailed digital models of places of the past. The attached camera can also record some fascinating perspectives on such places with relative ease.