What is the best drone for surveying buildings?

The Mavic 3 Enterprise is a long-awaited replacement for the DJI Phantom 4, which has long been the workhorse of drone mappers around the world. The reason this drone is great for mapping is because it's one of the few drones that has a mechanical shutter. A mechanical shutter will dramatically improve your drone models, since you won't have problems with the roll-up shutter that create blurry images when you fly. If you want the best configuration, the DJI Matrice 300 with a Zenmuse P1 is unbeatable.

The Zenmuse P1 is a full-frame camera that is located on a 3-axis gimbal. It has a global mechanical shutter and can produce models with a level accuracy of up to 3 cm without ground control points. The only real drawbacks are the size of the drone and the extremely high cost. For a long time, DJI's Phantom 4 drone was considered the standard for professional-grade drones.

When the RTK version of the Phantom 4 was released several years ago, it instantly changed the rules of the game when it came to mapping professionals. It is a drone that comes with the industry-defining features of the Phantom 4 and that was further expanded with RTK technology. The Phantom 4 RTK also comes with an improved controller with a hot-swappable battery, a microSD card slot for storing survey data, and a 4G connectivity option for cloud-based backups. The GS RTK special application was developed specifically for this drone, allowing for intuitive flight planning and easy execution in the field.

The Phantom 4 RTK's biggest limitation is the fact that it wasn't designed to be compatible with a kinematic post-processing (PPK) workflow. It also doesn't have an interchangeable payload, which restricts it from mapping using photogrammetry. The H520 RTK is Yuneec's entry into the cartographic drone market. With Yuneec's unique hexacopter construction, the H520 RTK offers a wide range of solutions for cartography professionals.

As the name suggests, the drone comes with a built-in RTK module and a network RTK base station. There are a couple of things about the H520 RTK that make it stand out. First of all, there's the fact that it doesn't have a fixed payload. Yuneec offers a range of high-end accessories for the H520 RTK, including the CGOET thermal camera and the 20 MP E90 high-speed camera.

These are sold separately, but they can certainly expand the possibilities of the drone. The H520 RTK was also designed to be compatible with a PPK process. The PPK is useful when cartographic studies are carried out in areas where communication between the drone and the ground station is not secure. Instead of making real-time corrections to spatial data, the PPK allows for the coordinated collection of data so that it can be corrected during post-processing.

The eBee X is an extremely versatile drone. It can be adapted to PPK and RTK workflows and is compatible with a wide range of payload options from both SenseFly and third-party companies. These include the SODA 3D mapping camera and the Parrot Sequoia multispectral sensor, among others. The key to data quality in photogrammetry is camera resolution.

You'll want to use a camera that can capture as much of the fine details of the floor as possible, allowing the software to recreate these features during 3D modeling. Cameras that can capture 4K videos and 12 MP photos are standard today, but you can opt for as high a resolution as available. All of the drones that are commercially available today come with a built-in GPS receiver to allow location tracking. This GPS function provides flight stabilization, as well as the tracking that the drone needs for autonomous flight.

When carrying out cartographic studies, the GPS receiver also automatically geotags photos. By embedding the photos with spatial data, the mapping software can recreate a complete 3D model by “stitching together” the photos. DJI's best drone for surveying is the DJI Matrice 300 RTK combined with the Zenmuse P1 camera. This combination offers exceptional performance, reliability and accuracy, making it the ideal choice for professional surveying and mapping applications.

It is one of the best cameras on the market for prosuming drones and, without a doubt, it is capable of mapping. DJI Mavic Air 2 is the best beginner drone for mapping. It's an excellent choice for those who want a startup in the field of cartography. All that said, drone studies have proven to be very accurate; for example, the WingtraOne VTOL drone, which is one of the best drones for photogrammetry, can achieve horizontal accuracy levels of 1 cm and vertical of 2 cm.

In addition, the DJI Phantom 4 RTK has been shown to have topographic quality accuracy, with an accuracy of less than 3 cm vertically and less than 2 cm horizontally. One of the leading software developers for drone photogrammetry solutions, Pix4D's mapping and surveying applications are one of the most robust on the market. It has a somewhat steep learning curve due to its range of functions and the sophisticated nature of the software. However, their support is first-class and there is a very active community forum, as well as detailed tutorials.

There's a 15-day free trial, and then you can choose a paid monthly subscription plan, an annual license, or a one-time fee. The SenseFly Ebee X is a high-performance fixed-wing drone explicitly designed for surveying and mapping applications. Choosing one or the other will depend on your budget, the size of the study area, and your level of experience as a drone pilot. To select the ideal drone for surveying and mapping purposes, it is essential to consider certain characteristics that prioritize data quality and operational efficiency.

In many cases, drones may also be the safest option, as some terrain will be hazardous to terrestrial topography. When mapping surveys in places where contact between the drone and the ground station is not guaranteed, the PPK is useful. The Autel EVO II Pro RTK V3 is a lightweight, easy to use and efficient drone for commercial surveying and mapping applications. The DJI Phantom 4 RTK is a drone specially designed to meet the demanding needs of the surveying and mapping industry.

Drone studies and cartography are carried out using photogrammetry; photogrammetry is the science of acquiring accurate data about the physical world through images. Drones are also useful for inspecting areas that are hazardous due to environmental factors, such as fire or floods, where it may not be safe for human surveyors to enter. Not only can drones make surveying tasks more accessible, but they can also create more accurate data and models. These qualities prioritize both the quality of the data that drones can collect and the ease with which they can be used for large-scale aerial studies.

PrecisionHawk also offers a consulting service for your drone business and you can even hire your own team for your drone projects. The accuracy of the drone survey depends on several factors, such as the quality of the camera, the GPS receiver and the use of RTK (real-time kinematics) technology. Surveyors no longer need to wander around the survey area and take manual measurements for days or weeks when using a drone. The drone also has AI flight capabilities, a 6-way detection system for safer flight, and an advanced UAV health monitoring system to keep the drone in optimal condition.

Land vehicles used for surveying can cause soil erosion and other environmental damage, while drones have a smaller environmental footprint. .