Funded by the European GNSS Agency under H2020 Galileo-2014-1 call, COREGAL (Combined Positioning-Reflectometry Galileo Code Receiver for Forest Management) project under the lead of DEIMOS Engenharia aims at developing a low-cost unmanned aerial platform and service for biomass mapping will allow wide scale mapping in the Brazilian context of forest management. A first of a kind combined Position+Reflectometry (P+R) Galileo receiver is developed as the main sensor for platform positioning and biomass estimation, the latter using reflected Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) signals (also called GNSS-R) that propagate through tree canopies, branches and leafs.
UAV aerial mapping is at least one order of magnitude lower cost than manned airborne missions while GNSS-R can be seen as bistatic RADAR replacing expensive, heavy and power consuming radars. Integrating P+R in a single device within a UAV offers a unique value proposition. Furthermore, GNSS-R signal properties allow lower saturation in signal backscattering when compared to traditional RADAR systems, allowing higher sensitivity to higher biomass applicable to the Brazilian forests.
Test campaigns will be performed to validate the concept in Brazil, including comparison and combination with satellite-derived data, which is expected to improve the accuracy of local biomass maps. Such maps will be converted into carbon maps allowing enhancements in carbon cycle modelling with far reaching implications. COREGAL approach is expected to enable substantial cost reduction and high accuracy biomass maps allowing accelerating the adoption of Galileo-based technology in Brazil.
COREGAL has a duration of 2 years, started in January 2015 and has total cost of 1 225 000 € with European Community's Horizon 2020 Programme Contribution of 906 270 € under Grant Agreement nº 641585