Quadcopter - Phantom FC40 ($500). Camera - Canon PowerShot ELPH 130 IS 16.0 MP ($110). Opportunity to engage your local community to produce open data - priceless.
Let's get to the point. Let's talk about hardware and software to get out there and actually map some stuff with a quadcopter. This is the story of my adventures hacking with a Phantom quadcopter over the last 10 months to make local maps... and of course have fun. The only rules... it has to be cheap and the software has to be open source.
We will go through the hardware, including purchasing, setting up, and flying the quadcopter. The camera is hacked with CHDK and strapped on the quadcopter with some velcro to a vibration dampener cut up with a dremel tool. The processing software is a pain to install, but we will talk through it including software options, how to get your processing off loaded to your video card GPU, and how we as a community can make all this easier in the future. Finally, we will look at what you can actually make... including mosaics, 3d models, and DEM's of your local community.
Quadcopters are cheap, fun, and amazing for engaging your local community to produce open data. Let's do it!