Top Drones for Surveying in 2021
Happy New Year from Coptrz! What better way to kickstart the New Year than with a blog post telling you everything you need to know about surveying this year.
Thanks to their ever-improving accuracy, greater efficiency, cost savings and enhanced safety features. Drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles – UAVs) are changing the way that companies around the world perform surveys. In fact, the drone survey market continues to grow everyday as technology enables more and more applications.
2021 is set to be another exciting year for the Drone Industry. More and more people are realising the potential of this technology and choosing to incorporate it into their operations. This article is a great starting point if you are wanting to learn how introducing a drone solution can transform your surveying methods.
We’ll take you through the following in this article:
- How drones are transforming the surveying process
- The benefits of drone surveying
- How using drones for surveying reduces costs
- Applications of drone surveying
- Our top 6 drones for surveying in 2021
- Download our Drones for Surveying ebook
How are drones transforming the surveying process?
A drone survey refers to the use of a drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), to capture aerial data with downward-facing sensors, such as RGB or multispectral cameras, and LIDAR payloads. During a drone survey with an RGB camera, the ground is photographed several times from different angles, and each image is tagged with coordinates.
There are lots of benefits to using drones over traditional surveying methods. Drones are up to five times faster than land-based methods, easily transported/deployed and well adapted for use on terrain that would be otherwise difficult to survey by foot.
The benefits of drone surveying:
There are many benefits of using drones to carry out survey. These include things such as:
- Reduced field times and survey costs
- Provide accurate data
- Able to map otherwise inaccessible areas
- Health and safety
How does using drones for surveying reduce costs?
By investing traditional mapping budgets into an autonomous drone and mapping software, you are able to get faster, more accurate data at a much lower cost.
When a company integrates drone mapping into its job site analysis process, it can dramatically reduce the cost of aerial surveys and manned surveys.
Applications of Drone Surveying:
Survey drones generate high-resolution orthomosaics and detailed 3D models of areas where low-quality, outdated or even no data, are available. They thus enable high-accuracy cadastral maps to be produced quickly and easily, even in complex or difficult to access environments. Surveyors can also extract features from the images, such as signs, curbs, road markers, fire hydrants and drains.
As data collection by drones is easily repeatable at low cost, images can be taken at regular intervals and overlaid on the original blueprints to assess whether the construction work is moving according to plan specifications.
Our Top Drones for Surveying in 2021
WingtraOne PPK VTOL
Unlike other fixed-wing drones available, WingtraOne has the ability to take off vertically like a quadcopter, even on difficult terrain. This removes the need to hand launch the aircraft or use catapults.
The Wingtra is capable of flying for up to 55 minutes, it has been designed to cover long distances. The Wingtra VTOL is also compatible with a variety of payloads including the Sony QX1, Sony RX1RII and the Micasense RedEdge.
Coptrz is the first premier partner of Wingtra in Europe; making them the first port of call to provide fixed-wing drone solutions. Our partnership with Wingtra showcases the trust they have in Coptrz as the UK’s leading drone solution provider.
DJI Phantom 4 RTK
For a drone that’s designed for aerial surveying and 3d mapping, look no further than the new DJI Phantom 4 RTK. Built specifically with surveyors in mind, the Phantom 4 RTK incorporates a new real-time kinematics (RTK) system to maintain positional accuracy and deliver survey-grade data. With this launch, DJI has rethought its drone technology from the ground-up, revolutionizing its systems to achieve a new standard for drone accuracy – offering Phantom 4 RTK customers centimetre-accurate data while requiring fewer ground control points.
DJI Matrice 300
The Matrice 300 RTK is the latest Commercial Drone Platform by DJI, engineered to improve upon the popular features of the Matrice 200 Series and give you a more capable, rugged and versatile solution. Paired with the game-changing H20 Series payloads the technology is primed to revolutionise your aerial operations in Public Safety, Industrial Inspection and Surveying.
DJI have also released some payloads which will amplify your survey game throughout 2021.
The Zenmuse P1 integrates a full-frame sensor with interchangeable fixed-focus lenses on a 3-axis stabilized gimbal. Designed for photogrammetry flight missions, it takes efficiency and accuracy to a whole new level.
• Topographic Mapping
• AEC and Surveying
• Cadastral Surveying
• Natural Resource Management
• Geological Investigation
A Lidar + RGB Solution for Aerial Surveying
The Zenmuse L1 integrates a Livox Lidar module, a high-accuracy IMU, and a camera with a 1-inch CMOS on a 3-axis stabilized gimbal. When used with Matrice 300 RTK and DJI Terra, the L1 forms a complete solution that gives you real-time 3D data throughout the day, efficiently capturing the details of complex structures and delivering highly accurate reconstructed models.
• Topographic Mapping
• AEC and Surveying
• Energy and Infrastructure
• Agriculture and Forestry Management
DJI Matrice 600
The Matrice 600 by DJI is one of the most innovative drone platforms available on the market today. From high-end features such as its A3 flight controller to maintenance perks like its intelligent battery management system, there’s plenty to like about this drone.
Designed both for large-scale, systematic commercial usage as well as simple in-air photography, it has a wide range of use cases. But the Matrice 600 is particularly handy thanks to the range of extras it can integrate. The Matrice 600 can essentially be adapted according to a bespoke design that fits the requirements of the individual user – making it one of the most versatile quality drones on the market today.
There are some additional payloads which the Matrice 600 can handle and how they can boost your drone flight experience.
A LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system allows users to methodically and accurately work out distances between an aerial location and a target location by beaming pulsed lasers to the ground and then carefully measuring the pulse reflections. Once this has been done, the findings can then be used to create rich and informative three-dimensional models which can help with terrain assessment, surface surveying and more.
By attaching a LiDAR device to the Matrice 600 and using it as a measurement tool, a whole host of discoveries can be made. Our team, for example, recently worked with the Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics Group at Aberystwyth University to configure a Matrice 600 for LiDAR research tasks such as calculating forest biomass, woodland carbon content and standing timber amounts at research hotspots across the globe.
RED is one of the world’s leading digital cinema camera brands, and as a result, the Red Epic camera is perhaps one of the highest specification cameras on the market today.
The camera comes with a whole host of features, including flexible lens mounts which fit equipment from brands like Canon and Leica, as well as HDRx capabilities which allow a yield of almost 20 stops of dynamic range. This makes it particularly useful for shoots which take place without much artificial or natural light, such as aerial photos of evening events or research work in overcast climates.
Other features of the Red Epic include a 5K stream of over 100 frames each second, Red’s DSMC (Digital Still and Motion Camera) capabilities, and full compatibility with the REDCINE-X PRO software suite.
Phase One iXM Metric Camera
The Phase One iXM metric camera incorporates the first medium-format sensor with backside-illumination technology, enabling high light sensitivity and extended dynamic range – perfect for surveying.
The Phase One iXM is fast, highly responsive, robust, and weatherproof (IP53 compliant), the iXM 100MP delivers superior quality aerial imaging and flexible operation to satisfy diverse surveying applications. This piece of kit is essential if you’re wanting to carry out incredibly detailed surveys.
Want to know more?
We’ve covered a lot in this post, if you are wanting to use drones for surveying in 2021 or upgrade your existing technology get in touch today and one of our UAV experts will solve any queries.
We offer a range of business starter packages to suit anyone looking to train as a drone expert – it’s never been easier to access training on how to use commercial drones and to begin your drone journey.
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