Next1’s FireChaser drone maps over 2,000 hectares to support sustainable agriculture in Costa Rica

The FireChaser UAS was flown from Montreal, Canada to San José, Costa Rica as checked-in cargo on a commercial flight, then driven to El Palmar in Puntarenas on Costa Rica’s beautiful Pacific Coast, about two hours drive from the capital, San José.

On its maiden mission, the Firechaser UAS developed by Next1 mapped over 2,000 hectares in the Puntarenas region of Costa Rica; about two hours drive from the capital, San José.

Originally designed to detect and map wildfires, the FireChaser’s modular cargo bay, initially designed for a thermal sensor was swapped for an RGB image sensor for the mapping mission.

FireChaser gong through ground testing before takeoff

After completing initial ground testing, the Firechaser took off from the El Palmar’s private airfield and ascended to the 1500 foot AGL target altitude. Once at the target altitude, the UAS flew the pre-programmed grid pattern and took about 2,500 pictures to cover an area of about 2,000 hectares. The flight took just an hour to complete for the FireChaser UAS, which has an endurance of over 2 hours.

Aerial shot of FireChaser UAS during its' maiden mapping Mission.

Thanks to Next1’s on-site processing capability, the 2,500 pictures were processed and delivered within 24 hours of the flight. Three different types of high-resolution maps were produced from the processed pictures. A high-resolution color map, a multispectral map and an elevation map. The processed maps were delivered to the client via Next1’s customer portal.

Screenshot of multispectral map produced by Next1

The final product includes a high-definition color map, a multi-spectrum map to check the status of the crop health and an elevation map delivered to our partner El Palmar via Next1’s customer product.