Blue J, a 1,000 year old Native American village lost beneath mounds of eroded sandstone blown from the tops of nearby cliffs, has given researchers in New Mexico a new angle to consider. Thanks to the use of drones and thermal imaging, never before seen images of the village are being recorded. Stones and bricks retain warmth from the surround areas, even when buried, so when viewed with aerial thermal imaging, it easily allows researchers to map out the structural formations prior to excavating the sites.
Blue J and New Mexico are not the first locations that have had drones used to make archaeology easier. In Peru, archaeologists are using drones to map, survey and protect thousands of ancient ruins. The drones are enabling researchers to build 3-D models of these ruins and structures rather than simple sketches or computer rendered drawings. It also only takes a drone a few weeks or months to completely map a location, rather than years.
Ecuador is using drones not only to patrol the jungle for drug traders and illegal traffickers throughout the country, but they are also using them to aid explorers, researchers and archeologists to map and conduct research in previously uncharted regions of the jungle. The primary focus has been on areas that are just too dense and dangerous to venture into without adequate information on terrain, vegetation and potential wildfire.
Many drone-aided expeditions have felt an intense sense of urgency to plan, prepare and launch these missions in an attempt to obtain raw data from these remote areas that has not been tainted or corrupted by reckless human examination.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com