Welcome

cropped-plane-curt-e13557616284751.jpg

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:

  • Simple Vignette Correction (4/25/2019) - From wikipedia: In photography and optics, vignetting is a reduction of an image’s brightness or saturation toward the periphery compared to the image center. When presenting a collection of images as a mosaic, the vignetting in the imagery can cause visual discontinuities at the image borders. Here I present a simple strategy to model and correct the vignette in a collection of images. Step 1: […]
  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro camera vs. Sony A6000 (4/12/2019) - Recently I flew a DJI Phantom 4 Pro v2 head to head with an in-house (U of MN AEM UAS Lab) developed fixed wing UAS. This comparison isn’t entirely apples to apples, but maybe someone will find it useful. DJI is the king of the hill for small UAS aerial surveys. Once you figure out […]
  • Almost, but not entirely real-time process control with Linux. (3/18/2018) - First, if you are interested in doing real time process control on Linux, go watch this awesome presentation.  This is way more important than reading my post!  Do it now! Where was I when all this happened? From the casual way Sandra speaks of SCHED_FIFO, I feel like this is something just about everyone in […]
  • New Hardware Design Project (1/12/2018) - Feb 11, 2018 update: After some amount of tearing my hair out and some help from the beaglebone IRC community, I have the pocketbeagle UART2 configured and working to my external connector.  Telemetry is up and running!  I also plugged in an SBUS receiver, verified it is getting power correctly, bound it to my transmitter, […]
  • Adventures in Aerial Image Stitching Episode #7 (1/11/2018) - Lens Distortion Issues (or Fun with Optimizers) For this episode I present a plot of optimized camera locations.   I have a set of 840 images.  Each image is taken from a specific location and orientation in space.  Let us call that a camera pose.  I can also find features in the images and match them […]