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    An unmanned aerial vehicle as a platform for aerial photography of land-based predator populations in Antarctica: specifications and suitability of the Aerosonde Mark III

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    L. Irvine and C. Southwell (Australia)
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    WG-EMM is currently investigating the feasibility of undertaking broad-scale surveys of land-based predators in Antarctica. Such surveys are likely to rely heavily on recent technological developments, such as satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which may allow cost-effective survey in large and remote regions. We describe some specifications and assess the advantages and disadvantages of one such UAV, the ‘Aerosonde’, which is manufactured by Aerosonde™ in Melbourne, Australia. The Aerosonde is designed largely for long-distance, high-speed flights with data collection and real-time transmission back to a flight control centre, but could also serve as a platform for aerial photography. Its advantages in this role would be long-distance capability and low noise levels. Its disadvantages include cost, the need for a launching and landing runway, difficulty in operating around mountainous terrain, and likely instability in strong winds.