2012-09-11 12:17:55 by Theun Karelse

The Unmanned RT and C-Astral team set out on the hunt for Wild Goats and Raspberry.

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View from the launch point for the mission, image by Shelly.

After days of arduous hiking through the valleys and over the mountain ridges of the Slovenian plateau, the Unmanned RT team has safely arrived at Sinji Vrh base camp. The famished travelers are treated to a wonderful meal of Wild Mountain Goat prepared by our host Hieronim and his family.

Now the next stage of the Unmanned Resilience workshop can start in earnest; the Unmanned Remote Sensing. The team-members now intimately familiar with the landscape, are invited to suggest possible missions with the Bramor UAV. Quite a varied cluster of ideas emerge, including:

  • mapping the remains of the hidden clandestine WW2 forest army hospitals
  • mapping Roman archaeological remains
  • mapping ticks in meadows (would need low altitude quadrocopter and extremely highres lens)
  • mapping underground water-streams and lakes
  • a dragonline mission, mapping pyramidal structures and patterns in the forests
  • a mountain bear mission (or is that mountain bar mission)

In the end it's our culinary experiences with the landscape that help to make a choice: the Bramor will be programmed for a dual-mission to discover the fields of forest Raspberries we've encountered and to explore the realms of the mysterious Slovenian Wild Mountain Goats. The stomach is our compass.

A trail of cars leaves base camp heading for the area we crossed on the last day of the hike. This leads us to the slopes of the last mountain from which we descended to the edge of the plateau. In the forest on the mountain are the fields of Raspberries we feasted on and the ragged stone cliffs at the base off the mountain are the territory only the elusive goats can travel. The C-Astral team prepare the Bramor catapult and it elegantly launches the UAV device that quickly disappears from view. It will now travel where we cannot. It will be our eyes exploring inhospitable places and forests baking away in the summer sun. We can only wait; catching a glimpse now and then of its outline against the sky or a hint of its engine snoring. In the valley below an airplane takes off. This is bad news. Will it enter the flight path of our mission? Marco and Samo decide the Raspberry stage of our mission has to be dropped. The Bramor will be flying out-off our line of sight. For safety we have to cancel the flight over the mountain forest. The UAV is brought back and parachutes-in safely on the meadow.

The team returns back at base camp. Here the analysis of the images captured during the flight can be started. Will we spot the Mountain Goat in it's natural environment? Each team member gets a selection of images and quickly engages the digital hunt. What excellent resolution! This gives a whole new perspective on the area. Individual trees can be spotted, shadows cast by rocks, or is it a goat! The search gets ever more intense, eyes look over images with feverish haste. Is it a goat we see? Was that shape in the original image or was it photoshopped in by a mischievous team-member? The details remain inconclusive, but at least one group is found, resting on the slopes of the mountain. It is us. It's the team waiting for the Bramor to return, found in image P1010694 in the top left corner. At least we spotted some wild mammals..

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