MSc Thesis: UAV geothermal mapping in Austurengjar

Jóhann Mar Ólafsson successfully defends his master's thesis


REYKJAVIK, AUGUST 16 – At the beginning of the summer, Jóhann Mar Ólafsson MSc in Sustainable Energy Engineering, successfully defended his master's thesis research where he created and evaluated a thermal map of Austurengjar using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with a dual thermal and RGB camera. Jóhann's work was supervised by Juliet Ann Newson from Háskólinn í Reykjavík, Victor Pajuelo Madrigal and Daniel Ben-Yehoshua both from Svarmi.


Jóhann's objective was to create an orthophoto of a geothermal area in Iceland, using a UAV and a thermal camera, that has specifically not been mapped using this method. The location selected, Austurengjar is a valley that lies south of Lake Kleifarvatn and is part of the Krýsuvík volcanic system on the Reykjanes Peninsula. This area was considered favorable for this project because it has yet to be mapped using a UAV, it is a relevant geothermal field that is accessible and does not restrict the use of aerial vehicles.

The UAV was fitted with a thermal capture fusion camera that produced both a Red Green Blue (RGB) orthophoto as well as a thermal orthophoto of the research area. Jóhann had to take into consideration wind conditions, time of the day and cloud cover when deploying his UAV in order to capture undisturbed data. Jóhann's survey is relevant because it provides baseline information about the undisturbed geothermal system because the thermal image created of the area gives a clear picture of the temperature distribution in an area of anomalously high geothermal heat flow. These sorts of visuals are valuable tools for interpreting results quickly and efficiently to scientists and industry professionals.

Once Jóhann mapped out the area, he validated his newly made thermal images and RGB orthophoto against conventional mapping methods and analyzed. He determined that the utilization of UAVs in thermal mapping can garner significant improvements in geothermal data collection when compared to conventional mapping techniques. To read more about Jóhann 's work, click on the following link. 

Congratulations, Jóhann on an excellent thesis!


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