Mapping parts of the biggest lava field for the last 200 years in Iceland

Hello all

In middle of March we went to map the newly formed lava in Holuhraun Iceland, the biggest lava flow in Iceland for the last 200 years with a size of about 80 km^2 (same size as Reykjavík the capital city of Iceland). The eruption did get some media attention, for example Good Morning America had a live broadcast from the eruption and Discovery Canada made a video about the Scientists working there.


 Me and my friend are operating a UAV service here in Iceland and were lucky enough to be invited with the scientist from the Institude of earth sciences at the University of Iceland to map this newly formed lava only two weeks after the eruption stopped. The area is still closed and only open for scientists with a special permission. The results were stunning and the amount of data we were able to gather with our UAV mapping platform was tremendous. It is very interesting to compare this method with older methods of mapping with a GPS on the ground and only gathering few hundred measured points in one day while this method record millions of points. The scientists do belive that this area will change quite a lot in the coming years and the craters could possibly collapse.

Of course we are using APM for our mapping platform but the UAV we used was built by our self. From the images we created a 3D model of the Lava field and in the video below you can enjoy flying through this new landscape. The 3D model is from the craters and the lava river that once did stream from the craters is quite obvious to in this 3D model.

We did get some attention of the media here in Iceland.

For this project we used a custom built Skyhunter with APM autopilot and PIX4D to generate the 3D model. We did make special ground control flags that can be seen on the image above. All the flags were measured with a RTK-GPS.

All this was made possible by the clever minds on this forum so thanks to all!

SOURCE: Everyone’s Blog Posts – DIY Drones – Read entire story here.

by Tryggvi Stefansson