Using a drone to map an area of land has become an incredibly valuable resource for a large amount of businesses over a wide array of industries. While some say drone applications are just scratching the surface of their potential, there is little debate aerial mapping using drones is one of their most important uses in terms of data driven decision making. Drone mapping is a process in which taking aerial images of an area of land is used to create a map using photogrammetry processing software. This in turn provides visual and data driven analytics which is being used on construction sites and other areas of land all over the world.
Compared to more traditional forms of ground survey there are clear advantages for using drones.
• Cheaper –Equipment and insurance is much less expensive as well as spending much less time on site
• Safer – No need to put contractors in dangerous or hard to access areas
• Output – Ability to map ordinarily inaccessible areas and a highly contextual 3D visual experience
While there are many uses for drone mapping below are a few main examples
• Unfortunately, most construction projects run over time and over budget. Regular surveys allow an easy way to monitor and visualise your site
• Accurately measure and compare measurements & volumes of earthworks
• While it’s particularly important to make sure you’re on schedule and not running up costs, it’s also necessary to inform remote stakeholders on progress to date and monitor contractor work
• When you combine frequent and regular drone surveys with the timeline tool within the software, you can compare between multiple datasets and visually track onsite changes in a way that makes sense for everyone.
• We can upload your design surface file which can be overlaid on your 3D visualisation
• If you’re actively moving earth, regular drone surveys allow you to compare current ground levels against the plan and identify anything going off-track.
Resolve Disputes More Easily
• No one wants to move dirt they don’t have to. Drone technology allows you to have more real-time control over a project and define how much you should pay your contractors based on the actual amount of work done
• Drone survey data, timeline features and reports can also be used as a tool to solve any disputes with contractors. Being able to provide a digital record of the physical state of the site at every survey, you can easily show where and when things went wrong.
• Create contour maps and simulate floods for planning
• Maintain environmental compliance
• Determine where storm water is pooling and how the earth is eroding around it
• Contaminated dirt removal progress tracking
• Regular drone surveys help deliver up-to-date information to project stakeholders and contractors by providing visual data that
they wouldn’t have seen from the ground
• Having your data processed with an online platform reduces the time and expenses associated with on-site visits.
• Create PDF and CSV reports that are easy-to-generate and share with your team or your boss.
• Maintain transparency with all stakeholders by easily sharing and giving them access to all the site surveys
There are multitude of different ways to process and visualise mapping data. Drone Deploy, Propeller Aero, Pix4D are just a few of the major players in the market that provide a processing and visualisation/reporting tool.
• Easily select a date of any previous surveys from the timeline slider to see a visual comparison
• Visually see any noticeable changes in topography, vegetation or construction progress
• Quickly spot any problem areas that require further investigation
• Comparisons can be made between cross sections, volumes, contours and more
• Upload design files and compare them against recent surveys
• gives an immediate sense of the height differences between site designs and any number of actual surveys completed
• Check profile and height of any point on the cross section by running the mouse cursor along it
• Useful to track and estimate moving earth works on roads, construction sites, mines and landfill areas
• Compare surveys with design files to ensure the project is conforming to plans and regulations
• in less than a minute you can check if a road base, subgrade, or finished surface fits within the variation permitted against design requirements
• Volume calculations are the most common use case for drone surveying on construction sites. Quickly determine accurate cut & fill calculations of any area within the map
• Understand exactly how much earth needs to be moved and compare against previous surveys to find out how much was actually moved
• Useful for dispute resolution such as clarifying amount of material delivered and compare to amount that was paid for
• Can save days of traditional land surveying and boots on the ground
• Easily draw a polygon around the area for cut and fill volumes to be displayed which can be compared to design files or the previous months survey
• Determine the depth of earthworks in certain areas and compare to previous surveys and as-builts
• Add contour lines
• Useful to analyse drainage and stormwater runoff patterns
• Analyse areas for flood planning. Set the height of a predicted event and determine where the water will reach
• Ability to use filters to flatten site machinery and vegetation to more accurately measure contours
There are many things to think about when hiring a 3rd party to conduct drone mapping services. Once you have a clear view of what problems you plan to solve by implementing a drone mapping schedule on your site or land area here are a few other areas to consider
Ask for some examples of case studies they have provided for other clients and how they utilised the data that was provided. While not essential for a drone service provider to be a licensed surveyor, it’s a good idea to ensure their drone capture process provides accurate reports.
If high accuracy is important in solving your problem, determine what they are using to address this. High accuracy can be achieved by using a rock solid methodology with a larger number of ground control points. Although we have found that using GCP’s in conjunction with a PPK work flow is much more likely to provide accurate maps.
Is ground control being used? In combination with a PPK work flow, laying GCP’s reduces RMS error
Laying check points on site provides confidence by allowing accuracy to be verified
Is the deliverable providing the features you need to make data driven decisions on site. Not all products produce the same measurement and comparison tools. Determine what is important to your specific use case and find out if they are able to deliver this in their report
Contact High Exposure if you are looking to improve the way you conduct aerial mapping for your site
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