January 2018

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 17 of 59

www.spor 18 // January 2018 // By JODY GILL, CSFM I remember my fi rst airplane. It was a PT-19 with a Cox 049 gas engine tethered by a control cable. It required you to spin around in a circle while controlling it with the tether. It would fl y for about 3 minutes, run out of fuel, and crash land but it was the greatest thing ever invented! I have always wondered if all that spinning around as a 10-year-old caused my attention-defi cit disorder. We've come a long way since those days. Modern drones practically fly themselves with GPS guidance and accuracy. The most common use of drones is for simple aerial photography. Recently, they have become valuable agronomic and engineering tools to accomplish tasks including 2D mapping and 3D modeling, rooftop heat loss measurement with FLIR cameras, and monitoring crop and turf health using NDVI cameras. My drone program uses a DJI Phantom 4 (P4) equipped with a Parrot Sequoia NDVI multispectral sensor and a DJI Phantom 4 Professional (P4P) for general aerial photography and Pix4D data collection. I chose these units because they have outstanding obstacle avoidance sensors, high quality cameras, are relatively inexpensive, and easy to fl y. The P4P has a 20 MP camera with a 1-inch sensor and a global shutter making it an outstanding tool for photography. The P4 has a slightly lower quality camera with a linear rolling shutter that is less- than-ideal for aerial photography while moving on a grid. However, it was the perfect fl ying platform for the NDVI Developing a drone strategy for use in sports turf management

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