Planning a Drone Survey Mission: What to Consider

Magnetic studies with drones offer a safe and reliable way to acquire geophysical data even in the most inaccessible terrain. Hammer Missions drone survey data specialists analyze the main considerations to consider when using a drone instead of a helicopter or carrying out terrestrial studies. The routes on the drone grid follow a grid pattern. They are best used in cartographic missions designed to collect images for processing into 2D and 3D data products.

For 3D data products, you can consider a “cross shading” pattern, a gimbal angle of 70 to 80 degrees, and even adding an orbit pattern around the flight of the grid. A drone study refers to the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), to capture aerial data with downward-facing sensors, such as RGB or multispectral cameras and LIDAR loads. If there are any problems with the equipment (low battery, loss of RC signal, depending on the type and configuration of the drone), or if the operator presses the “Home” button on the remote control, the drone will rise to this altitude before flying back to its original location. The UGC will add additional short segments at the end of each topographic line, but no additional reference points will be added to follow the terrain on longer overpasses or between topographic lines.

A traditional magnetic study can now be performed 5 times faster and 10 times cheaper with a drone mounted on a magnetometer. As companies continue to rely on drones for their safety, efficiency and data collection, it is important to remain consistent with those values when planning drone flights. This configuration helps to minimize the noise of the drone's motors and electronics, but it has obvious drawbacks: at the end of the topographic lines at the inflection points, MagArrow tends to move like a pendulum and it is necessary to use fairly large oversteps in the recognition lines to allow MagArrow to stabilize in the airflow. Setting up the drone is an important step in planning a successful mission.

As this is a special-purpose magnetic study, it is often not possible to rigidly attach the magnetometer to the body of the drone (as is often the case with other payloads). A drone that makes a U-turn at the end of a reconnaissance line at this speed will cause a pendulum movement of the magnetometer on a tow cable. When planning a mission, it is important to consider factors such as distance (Km+), battery restrictions and regulatory restrictions on flight envelope (500 x 500 m in most countries). This would usually involve landing the sensor first, moving the drone to the side, and then landing the drone safely away from the sensor.

Hammer Missions is a flight planning and 3D drone mapping software platform designed for commercial drone industry. This is especially important for magnetic studies, as study area can be quite large and may require several flights to complete. Altitude is mainly defined by type of survey and capabilities of sensor, or by specific requirements of customer for purpose of geophysical study. In these scenarios, usual practice is to fly drone manually or design several flights by constantly landing drone after each flight.

Orthomosaic and digital surface model created from aerial images taken by WingtraOne topographic and cartographic drone.