Aerial Surveying

Aerial Surveying

 

What is a drone survey?

Drones are continually proving to be powerful commercial tools, simultaneously providing adopters with leaps in efficiency and safety. The surveying and mapping industry is no exception. With their ability to capture data from above, drones have been successfully integrated into surveying workflows to perform land surveys, photogrammetry, 3D mapping, topographic surveying, and more.

Surveying is the precise science of determining the positions of, and the distances between, points in 2D and 3D space. Surveys provide critical information that enables informed decision making ranging from construction site planning, to design and upkeep of infrastructure, to delineating cadastral property boundaries, and more. A drone survey is simply a survey conducted from overhead using a drone.  Why is using drones for surveying superior compared to traditional methods? 

Drones excel at rapidly acquiring data from vantage points inaccessible to humans. When surveying challenging terrain, drones make it no longer necessary for human operators to physically access and measure points in hazardous or difficult-to-reach locations. Additionally, while traditional surveying methods require a lot more meticulous measurement, preparation, and planning, drones can capture comparable data in dramatically shorter timeframes

Depending on your choice of data sensors and surveying software, drone surveying can produce a variety of deliverables. Surveying software can stitch together hundreds or thousands of digital photos captured by drone, and produce high quality 2D or 3D maps.

 

How accurate are drone surveys?

 

Before adopting drones into their workflows, many surveyors ask about aerial surveying accuracy. What degree of accuracy can drone surveying techniques achieve? Surveying drone solutions can produce surveys with different degrees of accuracy, depending on the requirements of the project.In an independent study by DroneDeploy, the DJI Phantom 4 RTK achieved 2 cm relative vertical accuracy and 1.20 cm relative horizontal accuracy. For some applications, like checking crop growth, or construction progress, high relative accuracy is sufficient. For other jobs that also require high absolute accuracy, there are drones equipped with real-time kinematics (RTK) and post-processing kinematics (PPK) capabilities. When paired with a few GCPs, survey-level accuracy can be achieved. 

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