Technological advancements in geophysical sensors and sensor platforms over the past decade have given rise to the rapidly growing and innovative field of drone-based geophysics. As improvements in reliability, payload capacity, coverage capability, resolution, data quality, cost, and personnel safety continue to be realized, the widespread application of drone geophysics marks an exciting new era of innovation in near-surface geophysics.
In this conversation with host Andrew Geary, Dr. Callum Walter discusses the benefits of drone surveys when taking on dirty, dangerous, and demanding jobs. He highlights the similarities and differences compared to other geophysical surveys and the unique difficulties when collecting data by drones. Callum outlines a few case studies currently benefiting from drones, the possibility of rocket-powered drones, and using drones in off-world environments. Callum also offers when drones could be right for your project profile.
This episode is a fascinating, cutting-edge conversation on the latest geophysical technology that could inspire and improve your current and future projects.
Dr. Callum Walter specializes in developing innovative near-surface geophysics technologies and non-invasive remote sensing solutions for mineral exploration applications. His dissertation investigated the design, integration, and optimization of drone aeromagnetic surveying. Presently, he’s a post-doctoral research scientist with the USGS National Innovation Center and the NASA Ames Research Center. He works on expanding off-world geophysical surveying capabilities to support NASA’s upcoming crewed Artemis missions to the Moon, Mars, and possibly beyond.
- Callum Walter, Timothy S. de Smet, and Heather Bedle, (2023), “Introduction to this special section: Drone geophysics,” The Leading Edge 42: 88–88.
- Read the February 2023 special section: Drone geophysics.
Subscribers can read the full articles in the SEG Library, and abstracts are always free.
Seismic Soundoff explores the depth and usefulness of geophysics for the scientific community and the public. If you want to be the first to know about the next episode, please follow or subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. Two of our favorites are Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
If you have episode ideas, feedback for the show, or want to sponsor a future episode, find the box titled “Contact Seismic Soundoff” on the SEG podcast page.
Zach Bridges created original music for this show. This episode was hosted, edited, and produced by Andrew Geary at TreasureMint. The SEG podcast team is Jennifer Cobb, Kathy Gamble, and Ally McGinnis.