Terrain Reconstruction of Glacial Surfaces via Robotic Surveying Techniques
Parker, Lonnie T.
Howard, Ayanna M.
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The capability to monitor natural phenomena using mobile sensing is a benefit to the Earth science community given the potentially large impact that we, as humans, can have on naturally occurring processes. Observable phenomena that fall into this category of interest range from static to dynamic in both time and space (i.e. temperature, humidity, and elevation). Such phenomena can be readily monitored using networks of mobile sensor nodes that are tasked to regions of interest by scientists. In our work, we hone in on a very specific domain, elevation changes in glacial surfaces, to demonstrate a concept applicable to any spatially distributed phenomena. Our work leverages the sensing of a vision-based SLAM odometry system and the design of robotic surveying navigation rules to reconstruct scientific areas of interest, with the goal of monitoring elevation changes in glacial regions. We validate the output from our methodology and provide results that show the reconstructed terrain error complies with acceptable mapping standards found in the scientific community.