Unmanned Aerial Surveying: How Drone Topography Works

Unmanned aerial surveying, or drone topography, is a powerful tool for collecting data and creating 3D models of large areas of land. Using multiple sensors and cameras, drones can quickly capture images and data in the terrain below them. This data is then processed into high-quality 3D maps and models that accurately represent the Earth's geography and topography. Drone topography is used in a variety of industries, from civil construction to mining, to help surveyors and engineers quickly and accurately assess large plots of land.

Drones use multiple sensors at different angles to create thousands of precise data points, including geographical references, elevation points, and colors. These data points are then assimilated into a 3D point cloud to provide the surveyor or customer with a unique perspective and vision of the project. Aerial topography is based on photogrammetry to catalog data. This technique uses superimposed geotagged photographs to infer the dimension on the ground.

For successful drone surveying, your drone needs to have a camera that can capture 4K videos and 12 MP photos for any 3D mapping job. In addition, you'll need advanced mapping software to process the drone data and convert it into high-quality 3D maps and models. In traditional drone topography, a sufficient number of known points are needed to verify and fix drone images to the ground. This is done using RTK or PPK processing.

Once the images are labeled with geographical coordinates captured by the drone's GNSS sensor, they are verified with known points on the ground. Not only is drone topography useful for keeping workers safer, but the accurate data collected can be used to identify potential hazards on site before they cause problems. Drone topography generates high-resolution orthomosaic maps and 3D models of areas to create accurate cadastral maps. It also allows civil construction works to be mapped and measured with great precision, reducing the need for manual surveys which are more expensive and time consuming. Survey data captured by drones and processed by software platforms such as Propeller helps to centralize project documentation and increase collaboration with surveyors, engineers, foremen and site managers.

In addition, with the right processing platform, such as Propeller, you can get the data you need from each drone flight and ensure that you receive compensation for the work you do. Once you've determined that your company can benefit from drone inspection, one of the first decisions you should make is which drone is right for you. Multirotor drones are the drones most used by most civil construction, mining, aggregates and waste management companies. Fixed-wing models will shine when you need them to survey a few hundred acres at a time. Drone technology has changed the way in which heavy, civil and earthmoving industries inspect their worksites. Drone surveys help urban planners quickly gather up-to-date data from a complex urban area, using fewer staff to study the sites' existing social and environmental conditions.

Drone inspection can survey complexes, facilities, campuses, cities and military bases to obtain thermal images.