Information on Drone Surveys, Drone Mapping, Photogrammetry, Aerial Mapping, Aerial Surveys Broadly
The use of drones (or UAV’s) in the field of surveying is more than just collecting images. Sensors ranging from the most basic, to the most advanced LIDAR technology allow users to leverage modern automated drone flights to collect data with their drone of choice.
Combining image collection with GPS location and mapping engines, UAO masters the science of Drone Surveys. Here at UAO, we refer to it as Drone Mapping, due to certain terminology issues with surveyors and governments. In this article we will use the terms Aerial Survey, Aerial Mapping, Drone Survey, and Drone Mapping interchangeably.
Our data collection and output are extremely accurate and useful for multiple fields. In this article, we will outline use cases of Drone Surveying, maps/models generated from the survey, and how this technology has changed and will continue to change the world.
Use Cases of Drone Surveys, Aerial Mapping, Drone Mapping and Photogrammetry.
One of our clients manages cemeteries, an ever changing and ever demanding industry, where land/space is a finite resource. UAO uses drone surveying to produce orthomosaics, an extremely high-definition image, made of multiple images taken at low altitudes. The number of images in an orthomosaic varies, but it can range from as little as 4 and as high as 10,000 or more.
The cemetery may be 100 acres, meaning the drone would have to ascend to illegal heights to capture the whole cemetery in one image. This would not only result in possible legal repercussions, but it would most certainly produce an image with poor picture quality, making identifying gravestones nearly impossible.
For UAO Aerial Surveys we tend to fly just above the tree line, 30 feet or so. This results in a crisp image, however, it means that the number images will be higher in order to image the entire cemetery. With quality imaging, precision geo referencing and many battery swaps, we produce an orthmosaic nothing short of amazing.
With this hi-res image, identifying gravestones becomes possible, but more importantly in terms of site management, accurate measurements become possible.
Photogrammetry – Aerial Measurements
Photogrammetry is defined as the science and technology of obtaining reliable information about physical objects and the environment through the process of recording, measuring and interpreting photographic images and patterns of electromagnetic radiant imagery and other phenomena. (Citation ASPRS)
Unmanned Aerial Operations (UAO) currently specializes in this sector of Drone Mapping. Here at UAO, we can extract measurements such as Area / Perimeter, Volume Measurements, Cut and Fill Measurements, Distance Measurements, Slope and more.
This opens up a world of possibilities to many different industries, such as Grading.
One of the best use cases for Aerial Surveys in the sector of construction/grading is stockpile measurements. We refer to stockpile measurements broadly as volume measurements. UAO regularly provides accurate stockpile measurements to grading companies. Most of the time, the grading company has used a portion of the stockpile and needs to know how much is left. Shown below, we conduct a drone survey, then use photogrammetry to produce the volume measurement.
Cartography is old as civilization, UAO provides the next step in the evolution of the trade.
At this point you have seen the orthomosaic, and measurements extracted via photogrammetry. General drone mapping has so many use cases, it’s hard to choose one to display.
We will focus on the contour map also known as a topographic map. These maps use lines to display elevation change.
Just like with the other outputs, UAO builds the flight plan, conducts the drone survey, and uploads the collected data into our mapping engine. What we receive as the output, is absolutely amazing.
Based on thousands of measurements using photogrammetry, our mapping engine produces a highly accurate contour map, that can be used by builders/developers/ecological firms to understand areas safe to build on, areas with work to be done, possible high-risk areas, and areas with high environmental impact. There are so many more use cases for this one map, but the map below was generated for a client looking to build on this land. It clearly has suitable areas. This map can be used in any CAD software or GIS system.
Part of the benefit of photogrammetry is being able to create 3D models of a building, project site or piece of land.
A use case for this is with inspections. UAO consistently provides 3D models of buildings to inspectors, allowing them to see any damage and perform a risk assessment.
There are several benefits of this compared to simply taking photos. Using drones for inspection photography is already a gamechanger for its safety and efficiency, but with the addition of 3D modeling, inspectors can view the building without ever being onsite, while having full range to the entire exterior of the building.
To add, measurements can be extracted from the model, giving inspectors the ability to find the size of any damage, such as a hole in the roof. We consistently find damages, imperfections, risks that might have otherwise gone overlooked if the building did not have a digital twin.
What are some ways my company/organization can benefit from Photogrammetry, Aerial Mapping, Drone Surveys, Aerial Surveys or Drone Mapping?
Many companies struggle with getting outside of the day-to-day operations and put expansion of vendors on the back burner. This also can be due to doubting whether or not adding a vendor such as UAO will be effective and cost worthy.
We have good news for you. Unmanned Aerial Operations offers its drone surveys at an extremely affordable price. In situations like a construction site, where a stockpile may be 300 yards short of what’s needed, or worse, what was ordered, UAO can save you time and money (usually thousands of dollars) by telling you how much you have.
Keeping with theme of grading, using our aerial mapping services can give companies security, monitoring work completed. Instead of hiring us for Aerial Photography, having quantifiable changes on the site monitored over several months will give you a leg to stand on in cases where your client claims you have failed to perform.
Outside the construction sector, Aerial Surveys can be utilized for Urban Planning, Nature Preservations/Parks, Site Planning and more by extracting measurements of usable space, proximity to other locations, and site planning.
Drone mapping is a way to show and share data with your team, without you or other members ever leaving the office. Cloud sharing of maps, models and measurements increases the efficiency of managing a project or site, and allows changes to be planned, made, and viewed in real time.
Summary and Call to Action.
A main point to take away from this article is that sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to have aerial mapping done, sometimes it’s just a supporting aid to the project, but most of the time, it’s a utility that allows companies/organizations to meet the demands of today’s expectation of efficiency.
Another main point to take away from this article is that Photogrammetry, Aerial Mapping, Drone Surveys, Aerial Surveys and Drone Mapping are/is a tool that are becoming more prevalent in many fields. However, the technology is still new, meaning you can get ahead of the game and begin implementing this utility into your workflow.
Call Unmanned Aerial Operations today to discuss how Photogrammetry, Aerial Mapping, Drone Surveys, Aerial Surveys and Drone Mapping can improve your efficiency, safety, time and cost management. (919)-722-9320
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