Where Drones and Aircraft Converge – Sept 2015

In recent years, major technological advances have seen UAVs/drones become commonplace and increasingly utilised for mapping applications, while high-end metric aerial camera systems flown from a fixed wing aircraft have increased exponentially in resolution, precision and image quality. These advances have led to an interesting convergence of two complementary platforms for delivering a range of 3D spatial products for survey, inspection and other applications. The distinct advantages and disadvantages of each platform relate directly to the size and specifications of the particular survey.

Outline offers a range of capture platforms including drones and fixed wing large format camera systems. While the benefits of Drone technology are well documented, deploying fixed wing platforms can carry several advantages;

  • No site access requirements, HSE requirements, site induction etc.
  • Short survey time (hours not days),
  • Professional camera systems, high photogrammetric accuracy,
  • 3D stereo vector and break line mapping efficiency and accuracy.

After testing the limits of the fixed wing systems we now confidently offer 25 mm (GSD) resolution image data. The results yield spectacular image quality and very high accuracy elevation models. The image samples are taken from a freeway north of Perth, WA. Interestingly, this very high-resolution imagery is also finding application in vegetation species mapping where the high image resolution is required over larger areas. In some areas drone operator access is limited, not practical due to the extent of area, or indeed where it is simply too costly to send people, vehicles and equipment.