Drone mapping and modelling


Drone mapping and modelling.

Up until very recently, the only way to get up to date mapping data was to use aircraft, small aeroplanes or helicopters. Satellite data, including that from Google or Bing is now available of course, but that isn’t always up to date, and, of more importantly, if it’s cloudy, then there’ll be no ground imagery at all. Drone mapping can change this.

The benefits of utilising drones / UAVs for mapping.

Mapping, from drones, or UAVs is changing the cost element of the traditional means of aerial mapping. The ability to create 2D and 3D models, often down to cm accuracy that can be of immense value to companies and organisations of all sizes. The upper height limit imposed by the Air Navigation Order of 400 feet, means that unless it is raining, snowing, or too windy, then drones can be used for mapping applications daily.

Here at uStock, based in Ironbridge, Shropshire, we have enhanced our knowledge and qualifications in using drones with additional training in mapping and photogrammetry.

This enables us to understand the fundamentals of aerial imaging using drone based sensors for commercial usage. The end product is being able to produce enhanced mapping and processed geospatial data, presented using common Photogrammetry desktop applications. It also enables us to derive approximate measurements from pointcloud data acquired from our aerial platforms.

Common uses for the drone mapping data acquired are within construction, land surveying, real estate, insurance, quarrying, solar ‘farms’, wind power and agriculture.

Ortho Riverside Cabins
DEM Riverside Cabins

Ortho and DEM images of Riverside Cabins from a drone. Superimposed on Google satellite view.

A 3D ‘model’ of Riverside Cabins generated from the above data captured via drone

Using drone /UAV operators trained in mapping and modelling techniques.

Lots of operators advertise drone mapping and modelling expertise, sadly, not all have undergone training to understand the fundamentals of the imaging that they can provide, which could mean that they struggle to provide the results needed. At uStock we understand the fundamentals, and can implement them to produce the desired Ground Sample Distance (GSD) that will enable measurements to be taken from orthophotos or pointclouds.

Knowing the the relevant Field of View, height and GSD, skilled operators in drone mapping can utilise this knowledge to produce approximate measurements from the associated point cloud such as in this example of the paths and a cabin.

As well as linear measurements, it is possible to do area, perimeter and volume measurements, the accuracy of both can be increased with the use of Ground Control Points (GCPs). GCPs and further processing will increase the time taken for the planning, flight and processing of the data.

If required, the data from any such work can be utilised to create a 3D ‘model of the area, including any buildings, and anything else of interest.

Most of this work will be completed utilising pre-planned flight plans that can be saved and re-run at intervals so that any maps or models can be viewed at intervals to see how any work is progressing.

Having undertaken training in Geographical Information Systems, we can, of course, also present any information in a format acceptable for clients’ use.

3D modelling / Photogrammetry.

At uStock, we have access to a variety of software solutions suitable for converting imagery from drone flights into 3D models.

We have, also, utilised ground based cameras, to produce 3D models where drones were unable to be used, due to permission issues, or the area being too close to trees or other structures to allow suitable imagery from our drones.

Some examples of both models produced from drones are shown here:

We can help!

uStock are based in the heart of the Telford, in Shropshire. We look forward to being of help for any aerial mapping or photogrammetry needs for organisations and individuals in the surrounding areas.
Please do get in touch, we’d be more than happy to discuss your needs!