I am a software/aerospace engineer working at the University of Minnesota Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics Department.  My degree is in computer science.  I have been building and flying model airplanes since I was a geeky kid.  In 1996 I was one of the co-founders of the FlightGear project (an open-source flight simulator.)  In the mid-2000’s I started getting involved with UAV’s and have participated in UAV projects through Airborne Technologies, Inc. in Alaska, NOAA, Lockheed Martin, the University of Minnesota, and now Sentera (a cool local Minnesota UAV company.)

I use this site as a virtual scrapbook and occasionally post longer messages about things I’m interested in or working on.

You are welcome to follow me on google plus where I might post shorter blurbs or pictures more frequently: https://plus.google.com/+CurtisOlson/posts

(October 2015) Recently I have been doing quite a bit of work developing an open-source image stitching pipeline.  I plan to write a series of introductory articles on the process of image stitching and also as a tutorial for others interested in running my code.

(October 2015) I started building my very first multi-rotor (a mini tri copter from an rcexplorer.se).  So far I’ve been really impressed with the quality and care that has gone into the design.

I have added quite a bit of content to this site over the years which you can find through the menus and categories in the side bar.  Here are a few of my recent posts for starters:

  • SAM_0181 Image Stitching Tutorial Part #2: Direct Georeferencing (10/21/2015) - What is Direct Georeferencing? The process of mapping a pixel in an image to a real world latitude, longitude, and altitude is called georeferencing.  When UAS flight data is tightly integrated with the camera and imagery data, the aerial imagery can be directly placed and oriented on a map.   Any image feature can be … Continue reading Image Stitching Tutorial Part #2: Direct Georeferencing
  • stitch-example1 Image Stitching Tutorial Part #1: Introduction (10/20/2015) - Background During the summer of 2014 I began investigating image stitching techniques and technologies for a NOAA sponsored UAS marine survey project.  In the summer of 2015 I was hired by the University of Minnesota Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics to work on a Precision Agriculture project that also involves UAS’s and aerial image … Continue reading Image Stitching Tutorial Part #1: Introduction
  • IMG_20130923_183033 Flight Milestones (10/7/2015) - Congratulations! Congrats ATI Resolution 3, Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster, Hobbyking Skywalker, and Avior-lite autopilot on your recent milestones! Avior-lite (beaglebone + apm2 hybrid) autopilot: 300th logged flight 7000+ logged flight minutes (117.8 hours) 6400+ fully autonomous flight minutes (107.2 hours) 2895 nautical miles flown (3332 miles, 5362 km) Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster (8′ wing span) … Continue reading Flight Milestones
  • IMG_20150801_135249 APM2 Sensor Head (2/15/2015) - The ardupilot mega is a fairly capable complete autopilot from both the hardware and the software perspective.  But what if you projects needs all the sensors and not the full APM2 autopilot code? Overview The apm2-sensorhead project provides a quick, robust, and inexpensive way to add a full suite of inertial and position sensors to … Continue reading APM2 Sensor Head
  • IMG_20150127_174222 PBY Catalina (1/26/2015) - January 27, 2015 All shiny again! January 27, 2015 Today my replacement plastic parts arrived … a new canopy and a new hull shield.  It wasn’t too hard to pry the old shield off, and the new part is already to slap on. January 26, 2015 Here is a quick snapshot showing the new orange … Continue reading PBY Catalina