9 Mar 2017

A remote-controlled drone is being increasingly used by the CKL Survey team to complement existing technology such as Laser Scanning, GPS and Remote Measuring.

CKL surveyor Malcolm Dawson says one of the main advantages of using a drone is the significantly less time it takes to complete the survey, making it a relatively low cost method of acquiring extensive data over large areas.

“There is also a real health and safety advantage to drone usage. Large earthworks sites with a lot of machinery, or difficult or dangerous areas, can be surveyed quickly and remotely. This limits or removes the need to have people on the ground, which can be a health and safety hazard, and means areas which would typically take up to two or three days to cover can be completed in several hours.”

Other advantages include a drone’s capability to produce full colour, high resolution orthorectified photos, its ability to combine a surface model with up to the minute aerial photography and the fact low level flight is not affected by weather to the same extent as traditional high level aerial photography.

Malcolm says a series of photos are taken during each drone flight and are then stitched seamlessly by the software to give a single image of the site area. In conjunction with GPS ground control, a model can be generated giving contours with an accuracy of ± 0.1m or better depending on the ground surface.

“As with any new technology there are some limitations. Operating a drone can be subject to Civil Aviation Airspace restrictions and it can be difficult using a drone to photograph areas with high density bush or trees.”