EGU2020-20906, updated on 10 Jan 2024
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Development of a MEMs gravimeter for drone-based field surveys.

Elizabeth Passey, Giles Hammond, Steven Bramsiepe, Abhinav Prasad, Richard Middlemiss, Douglas Paul, Richard Walker, Andreas Noack, and Kristian Anastasiou
Elizabeth Passey et al.
  • University of Glasgow, Institute of Gravitational Research, Physics and Astronomy, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (

Gravimetry allows us to study sub-surface structures remotely by measuring changes in Earth's surface gravitational field and using this data to infer the density of geological structures. Of its wide range of applications, it is mostly used in the oil and gas exploration industry, volcanology, civil engineering and even archaeological studies. Airborne gravimetry is a vital method of conducting a spatial gravimetric survey in areas which are difficult to access by foot, such as mountains. Generally, sensors are modified for air crafts platforms by installing them on large gimbal systems, or a strap-down gravimeter can be used as a lower-cost alternative. Now, a new MEMs gravimeter called “Wee-g” is enabling the development of a system to deploy the gravimeter on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone). Wee-g was first developed with the objective of developing a low-cost MEMS accelerometer for gravimetric use which could be manufactured on a large scale. In 2016, Wee-g was used to measure Earth tides - the elastic deformation of the Earth caused by gravitational fields of the Moon and Sun. Since then, the device electronics have been miniaturised to make the system portable and has been tested at the Campsie Hills just north of Glasgow. Work is underway to build an isolation platform with active stabilisation on which the Wee-g can be mounted to be deployed on a drone which will reduce airborne surveys costs further and allow for more airborne gravimetric surveys to be carried out in remote locations.

How to cite: Passey, E., Hammond, G., Bramsiepe, S., Prasad, A., Middlemiss, R., Paul, D., Walker, R., Noack, A., and Anastasiou, K.: Development of a MEMs gravimeter for drone-based field surveys., EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-20906,, 2020.