University of Malta

LARSOCS (Low Altitude Remote Sensing Of Compact Sites)
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LARSOCS (Low Altitude Remote Sensing Of Compact Sites)

Funded by

L-Universita’ ta’ Malta

Research, Innovation, Development Trust Fund (RIDT)

Institutions: Department of Classics and Archaeology (Faculty of Arts), Department of Electronics Systems Engineering (Faculty of Engineering), Institute for Earth Science - University of Malta

Project coordinator: Dr Ing. John C. Betts

Project researchers: Dr Ing. Marc Anthony Azzopardi, Dr Ing. Brian Zammit, Dr Maxine Anastasi, Dr Charles Galdies, Dr Gianmarco Alberti


The aim of the LARSOCS project is to create a low cost capability for low altitude aerial remote sensing and survey for archaeology, which can also be used for other areas of research including geosciences, environment, resource and cultural heritage. The highly interdisciplinary colleagues brings together archaeologists, engineers and scientists to develop an effective methodology for imaging of small sites and processing the data captured; and to develop a simple and effective low cost guidance system which will allow controlled low level flight over archaeological sites to record stages in the excavation process. 

Project objectives 

1. To acquire and operate a remote sensing platform which can take low altitude vertical aerial images of archaeological sites and activities for the scope of recording visual imagery and the stages of archaeological investigation, including the sequence of exposed strata in trenches; and to create a methodology for this application.

2. To take and compile aerial images over an active archaeological excavation site to record the excavation process and the exposed strata.

3. To take and compile images of antique quarry sites and create a database of images documenting the sites for posterity.

4. To produce a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the sites surveyed, and carry out an environmental survey of the area in cooperation with the Institute of Earth Systems.

5. To derive Digital Elevation Models from aerial photogrammetry and process these in a GIS environment to spot anomalies possibly caused by hidden archaeological features.

6. To create proof of concept ‘virtual track’ technology enabling an imaging drone to be flown at very low levels guided by fixed position beacons, designed and developed by the Dept. of Electronics Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering.

Last Updated: 16 March 2017

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