Surveying Rock Glaciers with the Reach RS2

A Story Behind the Winning Entry in the Emlid Photo Contest

We recently announced our Emlid Photo Contest absolute winner—Johan Berthet, a Ph.D. geomorphologist from France and the founder of research companies Styx4D and Naga Geophysics. Today we want to share with you a story about our winner and his project. Discover the details behind the study amidst the impressive landscape of the French Alps.

Fundamental Science for Mountain Management

Johan and his team are focusing on archaeology, risk, and ecosystem management. Most of their surveys take place on difficult terrains—mountain streams, glaciers, and permafrost. Such research provides information about the surface and subsurface features and helps to evaluate hazards. This data is quite crucial to everyone in charge of mountain maintenance.

One of the ski resorts from the Tignes region, France, asked Johan’s team to evaluate the mountains’ slopes. Their goal was to map and assess the surface of the mountains and the permafrost as well. The research would help to construct a durable chair lift in a ski resort.

Johan’s team used an electrical resistivity tomography system for subsurface evaluation and a drone for site mapping. The Reach RS2 helped to georeference all information with centimeter accuracy.


Reach RS2 during the survey in Tignes

During the work with an electrical resistivity tomography system (ERT), Johan inserted the electrodes in the surface. Then the team used the Reach RS2 to find the location of each electrode. Electrode positions allow them to get the soil profile’s geometry and merge the ERT data with the 3D model.


Electrodes in the surface

Before the drone flight, Johan placed GCPs with the help of the Reach RS2. This dataset helped him to pinpoint the aerial data precisely. Later in the office, he downloaded raw data, extracted the necessary points, and post-processed it with RTKLIB.


Aerial map of the slope

Thanks to Johan for sharing these outstanding photos, and congratulations once again for winning the Reach RS2!

We’d also like to thank everyone who participated in the Emlid Photo Contest 2020. We have received so many great shots of projects from around the world! We’ll be eagerly awaiting your entries next year—make sure you keep up with our updates.

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