Gamma-ray spectrometers are an invaluable tool in the field of geophysics where they are used for geological mapping and mineral exploration. Recent technological advances introduce the emergence of a new platform for gamma-ray surveys: Unmanned Airborne Vehicles (UAVs) otherwise known as drones. This new platform enables the fast and efficient collection of environmental radiometric data in otherwise inaccessible areas. An overview is given of the technological and data-analysis developments to realize the use of a spectrometer under a drone.

As a result of weight and power optimization a spectrometer system based on a 1.0L NaI crystal can be used under a drone. The system collects gamma spectra with sufficient statistics to perform full spectrum analysis and determine variation in geophysical soil parameters. The platform can autonomously measure and process data giving real-time insight in the collected data and results. Two test cases are discussed in which the use and accuracy of this platform is validated for precision farming as well as locating and monitoring radioactive contaminations. It is concluded that a self-contained gamma-ray measurement system under a drone combines the best of two worlds by maintaining high resolution while increasing the ease of use.


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