What Is Drone Surveying?
Drone surveying, (also called drone mapping, UAV surveying or aerial surveying), is the process of using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to capture aerial data. These vehicles use downward facing sensors, such as cameras and LiDAR payloads, to capture this data and record it.
In a drone survey, the UAV is launched and guided to the site. Depending on the drone, it may be guided remotely in real time, or navigate autonomously based on co-ordinates entered. Once there, it takes a series of high-resolution images from multiple vantage points. These images can then be stitched together into an orthomosaic image. Each pixel of this orthomosaic image contains an X/Y axis and colour information
What Is a UAV?
UAV stands for unmanned aerial vehicle. These vehicles are commonly known as drones. As might be expected, they do not carry people on board, and are guided either by remote control, autonomously, or a combination of both. UAVs are able to take off and fly above the ground, making them incredibly useful for surveying large or inaccessible areas.
Is Drone Surveying Accurate?
The accuracy of your drone survey will depend on many factors, including weather, type of drone, camera quality and altitude, as well as the requirements of the project.
As with surveying in general, there are two types of accuracy that come into play for drone surveys: relative accuracy and absolute accuracy. Relative accuracy refers to how accurate a particular data point is within a model, in relation to the other data points in the model. Absolute accuracy refers to how accurate a data point in the model is when compared to its real-world counterpart (as measured by survey instrumentation). For some projects, relative accuracy is sufficient. For others, absolute accuracy may be needed. In these cases, some of our UAVs, such as the eBee Geo, are also available with RTK (real time kinematic) positioning, for greater data precision.
Why Use Drones for Surveying?
Drones have many benefits when it comes to mapping and surveying:
- Allow data collection even in dangerous or inaccessible areas, such as cliff faces, steep slopes, or unstable sites
- Reduce time in the field, and therefore costs, as little manpower is needed and data is captured remotely
- Provide highly accurate data – each survey results in thousands of data points
- Fly at low altitudes, so can collect data even when there is cloud cover
- Capture sharp and detailed images
Drone Survey Applications
Drone surveys have a range of applications, across all areas of surveying and mapping, from topographical surveys to monitoring crops, to surveying hot spots at fire and accident scenes. The possibilities are almost endless.
Fixed-wing drones are particularly useful for survey applications making it safer, faster and less expensive to collect geospatial data especially in hard-to-reach and even potentially dangerous sites, such as mines, construction zones and quarries.
Rotary drones are particularly useful for applications requiring inspection work (they can hover) and those that require vertical take-offs and landings.
Fixed Wing and Rotary Drones for a Range of Surveying Projects
Ideal for mapping larger areas, KOREC offers the senseFly eBee SQ advanced agricultural drone, also especially good for forestry applications and also the best-selling senseFly eBee X suitable for every job and in particular corridor mapping thanks to its long flight time, easy to use eMotion flight management software and of course its range of groundbreaking cameras.
This range includes a S.O.D.A. 3D camera, a unique photogrammetry sensor that changes orientation during flight to capture three images—two oblique, one nadir—each time, for a much wider field of view making it ideal for cliff faces etc. Cameras also include the senseFly Aeria X, senseFly Duet T, Parrot Sequoia+, senseFly S.O.D.A. and senseFly Corridor.
On the rotary side, KOREC offers a number of small, lightweight solutions, the Parrot ANAFI Thermal with a user-friendly interface to capture and analyse thermal and RGB data, the ANAFI Work an ultra-compact drone solution for every business and the newly released ANAFI USA which combines multiple security measures, great functionality and is operational from the palm of your hand in just 55 seconds making the ANAFI USA a perfect choice for police, fire, search and find, security agencies and surveying and inspection professionals.
Powerful Visualisation Software
Data collection is of course only part of the equation. In order to get the most out of your survey, you need the right software to enable you to process, extract and visualise the drone data collected. Trimble’s Inpho UAS Master uses state-of-the-art photogrammetry techniques to transform raw aerial and satellite images into consistent and accurate point clouds, digital surface models, orthomosaics and digitized 3D features. Meanwhile Trimble Business Center offers a complete field-to-finish solution for creating CAD-ready deliverables.
Not sure which solution is best for you? Get in touch and our experts will be happy to talk through your options.