Inside GNSS Media & Research

JUL-AUG 2018

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14 Inside GNSS J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 GNSS Hotspots Find out more at GNSS Hotspots online! 1 2 3 4 Image credits 1. Massive crack in Arizona. Photo: YouTube 2. StarChase GPS darts are being deployed from squad cars. Photo from FOX31 Denver video. 3. The autonomous drone Flygildi, also called the Silent Flyer. Photo: Flygildi. 4. A mother blue whale and her calf near San Diego. YouTube Photo: Domenic Biagini. Cracking Up, but No Laughing Matter Tator Hills, Arizona, USA The Arizona Geological Survey is using drones to shoot video and explore a massive crack that opened up in the Arizona Desert. The fissure is deep enough to swallow any car unlucky enough to be on one of the dirt roads that cross it, according to Seeker Media. Joseph Cook, a research geologist for the Arizona Geological Survey, was peering at Google Earth images of Arizona on his computer in 2014 when a giant crack sprawling across the desert caught his eye. "There's a mandate in Arizona in which people have to disclose whether there's a fissure on their property before they sell it, so we [the Arizona Geological Survey] routinely monitor and map fissures in the area," Cook told Seeker. But the size of this giant earth fissure warranted an in-person visit, especially after heavy rains in 2014 and again in 2016 caused the crack to grow. When Cook went out to the spot in Tator Hills in Pinal County, he walked along the enormous crack, measuring it to be nearly two miles long, and that's when he called on colleague Brian Gootee to fly his drone over the sprawling fissure. It was the first time Cook had thought to use a drone to showcase a crack in the Earth. Pull Over or You May Get "GPS Darted" Arvada, Colorado, USA A new type of GPS technology is promising to change police work in a big way in Colorado. The Arvada Police Department recently became the first law enforcement agency in Colorado to use GPS darts to track suspect vehicles. The StarChase darts are deployed from squad cars, serving as an alternative to dangerous high-speed pursuits. The hope is this technology will allow police officers to stop high-speed pursuits or prevent them from ever happening, which in the process can greatly reduce accidents and injuries that too often occur during high-speed chases. The darts use adhesive materials and proprietary technology that prevents suspects from removing the devices. Arvada police and ACLU leaders say GPS darts, used as intended, are legal under constitutional protections against warrantless searching and tracking. It's a Bird. It's a Plane. No it's a Drone. Reykjavík, Iceland Since drones can be noisy and easily spotted — which makes them difficult to use for surveillance — Icelandic inventor Hjalti Hardarson decided to develop Flygildi, the Silent Flyer. The autonomous drone features all the regular functions, but is quiet and it looks and flies like a bird. "The Holy Grail for drone technology has always been the ability to fly without rotors and using flapping wings instead," Hardardson told the Business Insider Nordic recently. The Silent Flyer will make it much easier to do surveillance for law enforcement, according to Hardarson. "In any scenario where you do surveillance on a large group of people, at a concert or a soccer game, you can now do it without being detected," he said. "In addition, the Silent Flyer can stay airborne longer than regular propeller drones because the wings make it more energy efficient." Don't Try This at Home Without a Drone San Diego, California, USA Marine life photographer Domenic Biagini, who can be followed on Instagram at @dolphindronedom, has quite a following online because of his ability to capture amazing wildlife photos. Recently he used a drone to film a mother blue whale and her calf near San Diego, and later captured several bottlenose dolphins playing along with the very curious calf. So while unmanned aerial vehicles are being used more and more today for commercial inspection projects including bridges, mines and utilities, using them to capture memorable moments in the oceans are also a tremendous benefit. "It was really cool," Biagini said in an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune. "That's a species interaction I've never seen. I've seen common dolphins and Pacific white-sided dolphins and even humpback whales and blue whales side by side but never bottlenose dolphins and blue whales interacting."

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