Wingtra announces its newest payload: MicaSense Altum

Wingtra and MicaSense Altum

In time for the growing season in the northern hemisphere, Wingtra announces the release of its new payload: MicaSense Altum. Especially useful for agricultural and closely monitoring water stress, this payload allows you to capture high-resolution multispectral (down to 3.4 cm or 1.3 in/px) and thermal (down to 54 cm or 21 in/px) imagery. Combining this payload with WingtraOne’s broad coverage capabilities, agronomists can now experience the highest accuracy multispectral data and a per-flight drone coverage range that aligns with their needs.

Until now, most drones carrying this payload have been multicopters. So the challenge of covering large fields in a short time remained. Now we can say we’ve met this challenge and offer farmers the technology to both see their fields clearly with aerial data and get that data efficiently—the time they save setting up many individual flights will surely be useful during the growing season.
Leopold Flechsenberger
Head of Sales, Wingtra

“The demand for synchronization of thermal and multispectral data is what drove us to develop the Altum,” said Drew Baustian, Business Development Manager at MicaSense. “Historically, if you wanted to analyze multispectral and thermal data together, it would require a lot of work aligning and comparing the two datasets. Altum allows users to see things like biomass and chlorophyll variability and species differentiation through the multispectral and at the same time get a better understanding of irrigation or drainage issues, or possibly plant canopy respiration, through the thermal.”

MicaSense Altum and Wingtra drone data output
NDVI map overlay on RGB.* Multispectral GSD is 5 cm/ 2 in (flown at 120 m/390 ft above ground level). The footprint of each individual image is 105 x 80 m (340 x 260 ft). The flight speed is 16 m/s and the overlap was set at 70%/70%. Imagery based on a capture rate of 1.5 sec, which is achievable with the latest Altum firmware.

Agronomists around the world have begun to use drone-captured aerial imagery to assess plant stress and irrigation. This data is proving more detailed, reliable and accurate than satellite data. Specifically, a drone’s ability to fly beneath cloud cover means higher resolution for farmers capturing data in seasons that feature overcast weather or tropical regions where cloud cover is a daily reality.

For those with multispectral drone data experience, Altum’s resolution means that they can fly higher and cover even more area per flight while gathering high-quality data. Alternatively, they can fly lower, cover slightly less and achieve the maximum resolution to target finer details that enhance their ability to document crop variation and design more precise application plans.

The Micasense Altum has been on the market for two years and has evolved based on user feedback. It holds its place at the forefront of multispectral drone data capture technology in its range. This latest firmware release (March 2020) opens new possibilities for Altum users, including the possibility of data capture from fast-moving, fixed-wing drones.

Combining this with WingtraOne’s VTOL fixed-wing design means farmers can take off from confined and rough terrain, which is typical in agricultural settings. Once WingtraOne is in the air, they enjoy a hands-free approach as the drone autonomously transitions into cruise mode; captures broad-coverage, high-quality multispectral data, and returns to loiter above the launch point before it transitions to hover and lands with control.

Altum is available now for pre-order and will ship in May. Contact our sales team to get a quote.

Data sets

Agricultural fields in Switzerland

Camera: MicaSense Altum
Coverage: 48 ha (119 acres)
GSD: 4 cm/px (1.6 in/px)

Mixed forest in early spring Camera: MicaSense Altum Coverage: 115 ha (284 acres) GSD: 9.5 cm/px (3.7 in/px)

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