DRONE PHOTOGRAMMETRY
GNSS MAPPING & SURVEYING

Photogrammetry is a sophisticated technique for extracting information from pictures to build precise three-dimensional maps or models. This approach blends ultra-high-resolution aerial photos with sophisticated GIS mapping tools to generate dynamic, quantifiable data for various real-world scenarios and purposes.

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DJI M210 Photogrammetry Surveying
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Survey Grade Photogrammetry Surveying by Drone

The roots of photogrammetry can be traced back to military surveillance and reconnaissance during World War I.

Pilots used advances made in photography coupled with manned flight to obtain image based intelligence from behind enemy lines. Without context, the pictures were worthless, however, these photogrammetry pioneers used local landmarks, landscape characteristics and known ground data to identify the orientation of objects of interest in the shots. These methods would change over subsequent decades as new advanced instruments and techniques became available, from stratospheric U2 planes to sophisticated meteorological satellites, and in recent years, contemporary UAV/drone photogrammetry.

Today’s photogrammetric maps captured by drones are created using sophisticated GIS equipment and software capable of producing surveyor-grade measurements of properties, landscapes & infrastructure. These maps are sufficiently precise to give important insight into actual environmental conditions on the ground and when using Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) corrections are capable of centimetre level accuracy.

There are multiple opportunities when using a drone to capture survey quality imaging data.  The list below is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Photogrammetry solutions are capable.

  • Mining Volume Calculations

  • Forest Canopy Surveys

  • Quantity Surveying

  • Coastline Erosion

  • Infrastructure Surveys

  • Soil Quality and Precision Agriculture

  • Property Planning

  • Farming and Plant Density Surveys

  • Water Clarity

  • Civil Engineering Projects

  • Road Planning and Bridge Surveys

Drone GNSS Photogrammetry Survey
Photogrammetry GNSS Map from stitched auto Drone missions

A UAV Drone can be a fast, efficient and cost effective surveying tool to pinpoint GPS positioning on the ground to centimetre level survey grade accuracy.

Photogrammetry vs LIDAR

Photogrammetry is being used to collect volume calculations in many areas of industry using drones equipped with high definition RGB cameras. However, drones equipped with LIDAR payloads offer further potential in this area since it can overcome some of the raster image photogrammetry shortcomings. Due to the changing light conditions during the day, photogrammetry has a limited daily period. Still, lidar may gather data at any time, making it much more weather independent than photogrammetry. Lidar data is also more trustworthy than photogrammetric data, as it is not affected by changing light conditions or other variables. Additionally, lidar data is more readily available than photogrammetric data.

Forest Canopy Surveys

Aerial photogrammetry pictures can identify multiple tree species and the affect of decay and erosion has had over time. Flying multiple auto-flight mission grids, a profile of image information can be documented and compared with historic precession flights showing the canopy progress over time.

However, photogrammetry cannot provide correct information about the digital terrain model or exact inside-canopy information. Due to lidar’s capacity to give precise and consistent information about the digital terrain model beneath thick vegetation, it is excellent for obtaining information about the canopy’s interior for tree species identification, height & size measurements, and biomass estimates.

Civil Engineering

Generating realistic digital surface terrain models and point clouds for commercial topographic studies is critical for planning optimum route planning, assessing the impact on existing infrastructure and the environment, and planning for land clearance and other operations during road, railroad, and powerline development.

Photogrammetry surveys using a drone with high calibration cameras are adaptable and straightforward to use, allowing for frequent rescanning of the target region to show progress of the development over the timeline of the project. With precision GNSS surveying techniques and centimeter level recorded GCPs, ground control points, each mission can ensure that the data collected is accurate in both the XY axis ground location coordinates as well as Z axis altitudes to ensure image maps are accurately overlaid.

Infrastructure Surveying

Vegetation encroachment on powerlines is a safety risk and can result in service outages and costly maintenance. Due to the labour demand and expensive nature of powerline inspection, service providers frequently disregard it to save operating expenses. Drones are a cost-effective and simple-to-use technology for inspecting power lines and by using photogrammetry techniques can accurately monitor and inspect powerline surrounding vegetation growth.

Drone Media Imaging have the expertise and experience to complete survey grade photogrammetry data collection throughout the UK

10m Take off & 20m CAA Flight Permissions

Legally, drones are required to remain a 50m distance from People, Property, Vessels, and Vehicles that are not under the control of the pilot. We, however, have enhanced permissions from the CAA that means we can get as close as 10m, reducing the need to contact and liaise with your neighbours or closing roads to fly near them.

RTK Centimetre Level Accuracy

We use professional multi-band RTK GNSS receivers with centimeter precision for drone surveying and mapping. We record each GCP as a point with centimetre precise coordinates, with an 1 cm accuracy achieved on distances up to 60 km in RTK, and 100 km in PPK mode. Our data collected can be used in mapping projects, or imported into GIS or CAD software like AutoCAD, ArcGIS, QGIS, and others.

DRONE PHOTOGRAMMERY MAPPING PROCESS OVERVIEW

1. Explore the site and place GCPs – We determine all features of the landscape and analyse the amount of GCPs required, from five to ten points are required usually.
2. Collect the coordinates of each GCP with the GPS GNSS survey device.
3. Fly the Drone grid auto mission and collect the controlled images needed.
4.Process and import photos and GCP list to mapping software for accurate georeferencing. We use Pix4d primarily but other mapping software as well.

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