5 Tips for Accurate Drone Surveying; the Devil’s in the Detail

August 4, 2023

Written by AUTHOR NAME

Drone aerial surveying has become an increasingly popular method for capturing accurate and detailed data in various industries. To ensure the best results and maintain accuracy, here are five tips for drone aerial surveying:

  1. Plan Your Mission Carefully: Before starting any aerial survey, it's crucial to plan your mission carefully. Define the survey area, flight altitude, and overlap between images. The overlap is essential for producing accurate 3D models and orthomosaic maps. Use specialized mission planning software to optimize your flight path and ensure full coverage of the area of interest. Also, consider weather conditions and lighting when scheduling your flights.
  2. Use High-Quality Equipment: Invest in a reliable drone with a high-resolution camera that can capture detailed images. Opt for drones equipped with RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) or PPK (Post-Processing Kinematic) GPS systems for improved accuracy. These systems provide precise positioning  data, reducing errors in georeferencing the images. Additionally, use high-capacity memory cards to store the large amount of data collected during each flight.
  3. Ground Control Points (GCPs) and Checkpoints: Even with RTK/PPK-enabled drones, using Ground Control Points (GCPs) and checkpoints is still beneficial for accuracy verification. GCPs are physical markers with known coordinates placed on the ground throughout the survey area. These points help to tie the drone data to the real-world coordinate system accurately.  Use survey-grade GPS equipment to measure GCPs with high precision.
  4. Post-Processing and Data Analysis: After completing the aerial survey, the post-processing stage is crucial for achieving accurate results. Use photogrammetry software to process the collected images and generate orthomosaics, point clouds, and 3D models. Ensure that you follow the recommended processing steps and verify the results by comparing them to the GCPs and checkpoints. Fine-tune the data as needed to improve accuracy.
  5. Regular Maintenance and Calibration: To maintain the accuracy of your drone surveys, perform regular maintenance and calibration of your equipment.     Calibrate the drone's GPS and IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) regularly to ensure accurate positioning and orientation data. Keep the camera and lens clean to avoid any image distortion. Consistent maintenance practices will help ensure your drone operates optimally and provides reliable data.

By following these tips and best practices, surveyors can achieve high accuracy and quality results in their drone aerial surveying projects. Remember to stay up to date with the latest technology and industry standards to continually improve your surveying processes.

And of course, contact RocketDNA to see how we can assist with all your drone survey requirements. With our highly qualified team of drone engineers, we can take care of all aspects of survey data capture; providing you with the best outputs possible to speed up and improve your job.