Drone LiDAR Deployment in Zambia

Drone LiDAR Deployment in Zambia

LiDAR and Photogrammetry Survey Data Project

Share this article

Project Overview

Rocketmine was deployed to provide LiDAR and Photogrammetry survey data over 7,000 hectares across 4 project areas in a remote and rural location in Zambia. A country in Southern Central Africa.

The Rocketmine team created a DTM (digital terrain model) to understand the position and extents of surface features, together with RGB (photogrammetry) values to create aerial imagery.

The objectives of the DTM were to determine uranium resource estimation; identify any environmental obstacles and begin planning for mine establishment.






Drones-as-a-service providers have become the standard solution for companies seeking fast, cost-effective and accurate aerial data. Drones can provide LiDAR, RGB, oblique and data sets depending on sensor payload over a defined space that is more cost effective and faster to deploy than manned aviation solutions. Depending on the project size, scope and demands, drones service providers using multi-copter drones have gained significant market share at the expense of the manned aviation sector.

Historically, the only limitation for drone service providers using multi-copters were large areas; whereby manned aviation deployments still made more strategic sense. These multi-copter drones were the only drones able to carry heavy and complex sensor payloads with limited flight time (endurance). Surveying a 1,000+ hectare site would be non-advisable and impractical in this deployment set up and result in additional costs.

However, advances in technology, chiefly tech miniaturization (smaller and more powerful) sensors and the rise of robust fixed wing and Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) drones are shifting operational horizons and barriers across multiple sectors. What previously was the preserve of manned aviation providers is no longer with the advent of lightweight and robust VTOL drones that can cover over 100km in 90 minutes ( straight line) or 700 HA. And as mining exploration once again increases in remote and inaccessible locations; deploying small and mobile teams is a major benefit for clients looking for actionable data to share with investors and various global stakeholders.

Drone Performance Specs:

Linear Coverage:


Area Coverage:

700 HA

GSD @100 m AGL



90 Minutes

In total Rocketmine completed over 60 flights, both photogrammetry and LiDAR to collect the data over short period of time in December.

Rocketmine deployed a senior pilot on site equipped with a Quantum Systems F90. The unique benefits of technology deployment solution was that as a VTOL aircraft, the F90 can be deployed from any location, i.e. does not need a runway and can carry a LiDAR Sensor.

As a Multi-jurisdictional drones-as-a-service operator, Rocketmine has assets (staff and equipment) able to deploy legally in different sectors. It’s important to note that drones and staff need to secure clearance from relevant authorities, which in some countries can include the local Civil Aviation authority, the Airforce and certain ministries. For example, South African ROCs cannot deploy SA registered aircraft in different geographies.

Key Takeout’s of RocketDNA’s Deployment Solution:

Speed of Deployment

Deploying a drone was faster and cheaper than manned aircraft and approved by the Zambian Civil Aviation Authority.

Speed of Data Turnaround

Using proprietary software RocketDNA was able to provide data within 24-hours

African and Global Expertise

As a global enterprise, RocketDNA has extensive experience to legally deploy to remote and complex operational environments

Working with relevant CAA’s

RocketDNA’s team worked with the Zambian CAA to comply with all requirements. The CAA deployed two-officials for the duration of the project to gain valuable experience.


RocketDNA’s offering providing a leading multinational with a fast and efficient turn around that exceeded budget expectations.

As mining houses and their investors continue to streamline costs and improve shareholder value; RocketDNA’s ability to deploy effective tech solutions on time is a proven method of success.

Contact RocketDNA Today

Interested in finding out more about how our drone data solutions can assist you with your data need?

Complete the contact form to get started  and find out more.