Local Site Accessibility

Accessibility of a site is an important consideration for unmanned SFAP, as the survey system is controlled by one or more operators on the ground. Depending on the system and size of the area, the operator(s) may need to move around quite a lot, making accessibility and ease of action a rather central issue. Some sites may be impossible or difficult to access owing to their conditions (wetlands) or conservation reasons (nature reserves); others may just be difficult to move or navigate in because of tall weeds, rugged terrain, forest, high mountains, etc. As a general guideline, the more difficult the terrain, the more personnel can be recommended to help with navigating, relaying messages, taking bearings for flight directions, etc.

Direct accessibility by vehicles may be an issue with large and heavy equipment, although most of the systems presented in this book can be transported by foot or small boats with a little goodwill and exertion and have indeed often been so by the authors. Some systems have special requirements for launching places (e.g., size, flatness, local wind conditions, distance to obstacles), which also can mean that the operators have to walk some distance after launching the system if no convenient spot can be found directly at the site.

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