The drone swarm of GEOMAR

Drone swarm | Volcanology drone group | Projects | Expeditions


Drones for volcanological research

A crucial tool for risk-mitigation in volcanic areas are up-to-date hazard maps that outline areas at risk of being affected by volcanic hazards. Topography reflects changes at the volcano (e.g. through deformation or lava flow emplacement) and is one main parameter influencing the advancement of several hazardous phenomena such as lahars or pyroclastic flows. The ever-changing landscape at volcanoes therefore requires frequent mapping campaigns in order to quantify those changes and obtain the topographic maps that serve as basis for the simulation and forecasting of future events. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) represent a cheap, fast and safe method to map and monitor volcanoes even during eruptions without endangering those performing the surveillance. GEOMAR offers a versatile state-of-the-art UAV swarm as well as the capability to generate high-resolution bathymetric maps, and thus can provide comprehensive maps of both the subaerial and submarine portion of coastal volcanoes - a crucial step towards understanding the volcanic system and forecasting hazardous phenomena like tsunamis. The UAVs are furthermore equipped with thermal cameras and we aim to develop various additional UAV-based sensors that will enable us to remotely measure important volcano monitoring and eruption parameters and thereby provide unique windows into otherwise inaccessible processes.

The volcanology drone group of GEOMAR:

Prof. Dr. Kaj Hoernle

Head of the Drone Group

Dr. Thor Hansteen

Co-Head of the Drone Group

Dr. Karen Strehlow
Postdoctoral researcher in volcanic hazards; scientific campaign planning, evaluation and publications

Dr. Tom Kwasnitschka

Photogrammetry expert

B.Eng. Malte Eggersglüß
Pilot and Drone-Engineer