Drones Are Changing Surveys Forever

by coptrz on May 17, 2016

Surveying is a HUGE part of so many areas of industry, and traditionally can take days, weeks, or even months to carry out. They are costly, with teams of qualified surveyors first taking, then analysing, then modelling data for interpretation.

shutterstock_227942317Costly surveying, begone! Drones are the answer.

The Birds-Eye View Changes Everything

How often have you had to trudge across a field, climb a mountain, or even navigate hazardous areas such as nearby rail tracks?

A drone provides a detailed aerial perspective, meaning nobody needs to go into unsafe areas. The pilot can stand in a safe place – as long as they can still see the drone! Visit our Drone Legislation blog and gather all the data required.


Speedy Surveys Done In A Jiffy

The other thing about surveys, other than hazardous areas, is time. It’s rather time-consuming to gather safety equipment, make a risk assessment of an area, clamber into harnesses or even halt business operations in order to access the area for surveying. Then you have to get to the area, set up your equipment, take some readings, pack it all down again, trek somewhere else, set up again, take some readings…

A drone covers ground FAR more quickly than a team of surveyors can, often gathering significantly more data too. The aerial view allows for wide acreage to be easily assessed, while high definition cameras allow for detailed photogrammetry or LiDAR images to be processed for 3D modeling later on.


LiDAR, NIR, NVDI… So Many Options!

shutterstock_393147385A survey drone doesn’t have to have an RGB or visible spectrum camera on-board. Sure, if you’re planning on using it for aerial photogrammetry, that’s probably advisable – but if you’re providing a niche business service, it makes sense to choose the best camera out there for your needs.

LiDAR technology is ideal for topographical surveys that cover areas of dense vegetation; alas a normal RGB camera as used in photogrammetry just won’t penetrate dense jungle. On the other hand, if you want to know more about the health of that very vegetation, then you need an NVDI camera (Normalised Vegetation Differentiation Index), which uses Near Infra-Red (NIR) to monitor the differentiation in the red spectrums. What that means, order norvasc online really, is that by measuring the red reflectivity of vegetation, you can detect areas of disease, over-watering, or (hopefully) flourishing crops.

Drones for surveys are so versatile they can carry one of these cameras permanently, or have the option to switch in and out whichever one you need. Ones like the Aerialtronics Dupla Vista even allow immediate switching between thermal and RGB cameras – ideal in agriculture, for example, as the thermal can pick up hotspots while the RGB determines what’s causing it, such as silos.


Buy the Aerialtronics Dupla Vista here

Accurate Repeatable Surveys

GPS enables plotted flight paths to be re-run time and again. What’s even cooler, though, is that telemetry systems can even record the angle the camera is positioned at while taking each photo. Not sure why that’s cool?

Normally, a GPS flight path will be plotted on an X,Y,Z basis: latitude, longitude, height. Advanced plotting with camera angles mean you’re essentially adding six more measurements to your data: the X,Y,Z of the camera itself. You can PERFECTLY replicate images every single time. You definitely can’t do that when you return to a field many months later on foot!


Easy Data Interpretation

shutterstock_279358256Surveying drones can be fitted with all sorts of equipment, enabling fast and detailed data capture. Topographical models can be created from images taken that have a resolution up to 4cm. We’re not kidding. That’s pretty darn accurate!

More than that, though, the equipment can do additional tasks to make everything that much easier. For example, geo-tagging images can be done as part of a survey, to ensure that models are perfectly stitched together, or a GPS flight path can be repeated over and over across a period of time to create exact overlays of data to record landscape change.

The most awesome thing about data interpretation software for drones, however, is that the end client – your customer – is able to interpret the data you’ve taken almost immediately. There’s no separate interim process between data capture and client presentation: they could be standing next to you on the field, viewing feedback from the drone in real time, analysing data there on the spot.


Visit our Drone for Surveying page


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