MicaSense offers Altum 3-in-1 sensor for ag drone mapping

October 17, 2019  - By
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The Altum is a 3-in-1 sensor that combines thermal, high-resolution and multispectral imaging capabilities in one sensor. (Photo: MicaSense)

The Altum is a 3-in-1 sensor that combines thermal, high-resolution and multispectral imaging capabilities. (Photo: MicaSense)

The Altum sensor, offered by MicaSense, is designed for professional-grade agricultural drone mapping by enterprise and academic researchers. The Altum captures synchronized multispectral and thermal imagery, enabling aligned outputs for advanced analytics.

Altum’s multispectral imagers are the highest resolution integrated multispectral solution available for drones, allowing for detailed RGB outputs and advanced crop classifications.

Whereas before they had to fly multiple flights with multiple sensors, researchers, growers and service providers can now capture data for plant health, water stress mapping, phenotyping and more in one flight, with one sensor.

The Microsense RedEdge-MX sensor aboard DJI's M210 RTK drone. (Photo: MicaSense)

The Microsense RedEdge-MX sensor aboard DJI’s M210 RTK drone. (Photo: MicaSense)

“The Altum design resulted from experience developing advanced analytics and understanding needs for advanced research,” said Justin McAllister, CTO and co-founder of MicaSense. “We realized the market is limited by time and cost constraints of owning multiple sensors and flying multiple passes over the same field. The goal of Altum is to simplify the workflow, and with synchronized capture, to provide results that can be correlated and quantified more easily.”

Altum includes MicaSense’s standard five-band configuration of multispectral bands (red, green, blue, near-infrared and red-edge) and an integrated Lepton radiometric thermal longwave infrared sensor from FLIR Systems, providing temperature measurement for every pixel of the scene for additional crop data and optimization.

Expandable high-capacity USB 3.0 storage allows users to fly longer and cover more area without landing to swap storage. In addition, advancements in image capture rate enables faster flight speeds.

Users can process Altum data with industry standard software like Agisoft and Pix4Dmapper to generate an aligned, radiometrically calibrated six band (R, G, B, RE, NIR, T) geotiff, or access the raw data from Altum to process data themselves.

Included with Altum is DLS 2, the patent-pending next generation of the MicaSense Downwelling Light Sensor (DLS). DLS 2 allows for a more streamlined integration as it combines both the DLS and GPS into one product. In addition, through proprietary MicaSense technology, the DLS 2 will offer significantly better calibration for changing light conditions and better measurements over time.

Integrated solutions

Altum’s multiple interface options and open API gives users the ability to utilize Altum on a variety of platforms. In addition to the DJI SkyPort integration, Altum is integrated with drone offerings from the following companies (with more to come):

  • North America: Drone Nerds (U.S.), BirdsEyeView Aerobotics (U.S)., OmniView Tech (Canada), Sky Flight Robotics (U.S.), Blue Skies Drone Rental (U.S.)
  • Europe: 3D Target (IT), Globe Flight (DE), C-Astral (SI), Droneparts.de (DE), Ecobotix (DK), NaviGate (PL), Quantum Systems (DE)
  • Asia: Cybernetech (Japan), Shenzhen Qianhai Yaqi Technology (China)

DJI Payload SDK Program: Altum and RedEdge-MX for DJI M200 Series

Through DJI SkyPort, MicaSense is able to provide seamless integration of its specialized sensors with DJI’s powerful line of enterprise drones, resulting in the MicaSense Altum and RedEdge-MX solutions. This provides users a high-quality drone and sensor combination they can rely on to capture quality data every time – with virtually no set-up time.

The DJI SkyPort integration for Altum and RedEdge-MX features plug-and-play integration for Altum and RedEdge-MX right out of the box, including power and quick connect/disconnect, and enhanced light calibration with MicaSense DLS 2.

“Solutions like the MicaSense Altum and RedEdge-MX demonstrate the value of integrating specialized industrial payloads to DJI’s powerful drone platforms,” said Jan Gasparic, head of Enterprise Partnerships at DJI. “By collaborating with solution providers, we are expanding the benefits of drone technology to more and more industries. In the case of agriculture, a specialized suite of sensors and more advanced level of analytics can truly bring tangible value to business workflows and decision making today.”

The Altum and SkyPort enabled RedEdge-MX and Altum are available today through the MicaSense website.

About the Author:


Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006, and also is editor of GPS World’s sister website, Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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