Planning UAV Flights with Sentinel-2 Data

Nov 28, 2016 · 3 min read
MAVinci planning software

Satellite imagery is one of the basic components for planning UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) flights. Therefore it is no surprise that Sentinel-2 data is increasingly considered as a reliable source for more accurate planning in areas, where up-to-date data are required (e.g. open-pit mining, agriculture areas, developing areas, etc.). A German company MAVinci GmbH, recently acquired by Intel, is the first using Sentinel Hub for planning their UAV flights.

Most UAV providers base their mapping software on Google Maps, Bing or similar imagery, which is widely available and in some areas (especially urban) very detailed. However, using such systems in practice often shows that the imagery is outdated. Generally such data are updated once or twice per year in urban areas. Rural areas have often imagery several years old. This is often not sufficient for UAV tasking. Sentinel-2 data with revisit time of 10 days (or even less in higher Northern and Southern latitudes) is an ideal source. The resolution (10 meters for RGB and NIR bands) is not as good as for some commercial imagery, but being able to get extremely recent images outweighs this fact. Having multi-spectral data on disposal helps as well, especially in agriculture and geology fields.

Sentinel Hub, with its WMS and WMTS web service options, provides a perfect solution for UAV providers as they can integrate it in a matter of minutes. They immediately have global coverage of data available with archival images, cloud coverage filtering and similar features.

About MAVinci

MAVinci is an innovation leader in the field of civil surveying and mapping with unmanned aerial systems. All technology and innovation are done in-house at MAVinci, making it possible to quickly respond to customer requests and to continually develop new products and solutions.

As a manufacturer and developer of professional unmanned aerial drones and software systems, MAVinci specializes in developing and offering airborne documentation and surveying solutions. They have developed a complete system, the MAVinci SIRIUS UAS, to carry out surveying and mapping projects. This is a fully automatic light aircraft with a built-in camera and software for planning, management, control and processing.

MAVinci GmbH is a German company headquartered in St. Leon-Rot in Baden-Württemberg, between Heidelberg and Stuttgart.

Agriculture area as seen in a standard true color as well as with highlighted vegetation features (false color) and displaying moisture index — Source: MAVinci
Recent true color imagery overlaid on 3D globe — Source: MAVinci
Open-pit mining monitoring — Source: MAVinci
A comparison between the hyper-spectral live map, here a Vegetation Index overlay vs. the normal Map box data. — Source: MAVinci

Originally published at

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