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Combining GeoEye-1 Satellite Remote Sensing, UAV Aerial Imaging, and Geophysical Surveys in Anomaly Detection Applied to Archaeology

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5 Author(s)
Albert Yu-Min Lin ; California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA ; Alexandre Novo ; Shay Har-Noy ; Nathan D. Ricklin
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This paper describes a method of combined ultra-high resolution satellite imaging, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) photography, and sub-surface geophysical investigation for anomaly detection, which was employed in a non-invasive survey of three archaeological sites in Northern Mongolia. The surveyed sites were a Bronze Age burial mound, a Turkish period tomb, and a steppe city fortification of unknown origin. For the satellite survey, 50 cm resolution pan-sharpened imagery was generated through a combination of multispectral and panchromatic data, collected from the GeoEye-1 earth-sensing satellite. The imagery was then used to identify the location of the aforementioned sites in an approximate area of 3000 km2 . Aerial photographs of the sites were obtained with two customized electric-powered UAVs: a fixed flying wing rear-propulsion plane and a multi-propeller “oktokopter” helicopter system. Finally, geophysical investigation was conducted with a GSM-19 Overhouser gradiometer, an EM38 electromagnetometer, and an IDS Detector Duo ground penetrating radar. The satellite imagery and aerial photographs were combined with the geophysical survey results and on-site surface observations to provide insight and contextual information about anomalies in multiple layers of data. The results highlight the effectiveness and robustness of the employed method for archaeological investigation in large, rugged and scarcely populated areas.

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 4 )