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UAV Aerial Surveying Imaging


UAV Aerial Surveying Imaging

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UAV Aerial Surveying Imaging


UAV Aerial Surveying Imaging

WHY USE A UAV/DRONE FOR AERIAL MAPPING AND SURVEYING?

Imaging collection in progress (Image: David Jinks).

Imaging collection in progress (Image: David Jinks).

The use of multi-rotor aerial platforms are becoming increasingly adaptable and capable to collect survey data that conventional aerial platforms, such as large fixed wing aircraft, have commonly undertaken in the past.

Traditional methods of obtaining data required high levels of surveying workforce numbers and the acquisition of data can often be time consuming, difficult to manage, keep up to date and be limited in content due to individual area health and safety considerations.

Commercial Applications and Uses...

Although not exhaustive, the following industry sectors can take advantage in sourcing geospatial data and imaging for their specific requirements:

  • Agriculture & Farming
    • Forest inventory.
    • Land and vegetation management.
       
  • Academia
    • Archaeology.
    • Historical site mapping.
       
  • Environmental Management
    • Coastal erosion studies.
    • Hydrology/river studies.
  • Aerial Imagery for Geospatial Information Systems Users
    • Creation of new uncharted datasets.
    • Mapping/charting dataset updates.
  • Land Development and Infrastructure Planning
    • Small to medium area surveying imaging.
    • Pre-cursor aerial imaging/surveying and planning for the construction sector.
    • Land development updates.
       
  • Surveying Technical Datasets
    • Terrain and surface modelling.
    • Volumetric stockpiles studies.
    • Continous site monitoring.

Cost and time savings...

How our drone aerial imaging and onward processed data outputs for surveying can be 80% quicker than traditional ground survey methods.

The cost savings over a conventional fixed wing aircraft and helicopters are considerable too, especially tasked for small to medium-sized areas where alternative means of data collection can be expensive.  Companies can source ARC Aerial Imaging's professional UAV pilot/operator who also has over 20 years knowledge and experience in Imagery and Spatial Analysis when required rather than the appointing significant costs in purchasing their own platforms, legally training and employing full-time operators bespoke for this purpose.

Additionally, from planning to collection and data processing product output needs, we can undertake all that's necessary when it comes to aerial imaging surveying thus keeping costs and time to a minimum.


"It's not just about the MEANS of collecting the data (imagery), it's about UNDERSTANDING the deliverable data that's key..."

ARC Aerial Imaging is not only a source provider of baseline aerial imaging data but through the use of its multi-rotor aerial UAVs together with its subject matter expertise in Imager and Spatial Analysis, we're able to also create and provide geospatial products from basic/unannotated to comprehensive/informative 2D image orthomosiacs/landmaps and 3D terrain and surface models (DTMs/DSMs) for a variety of applications.

Imagery Processing Report.

Imagery Processing Report.

Although not exhaustive, some of our typical UAV/drone aerial imagery outputs include:

  • Centimetre-level (relative) GSD baseline geotagged RGB and NIR (Near-Infrared) aerial imagery;
  • Georeferenced/orthorectified mosiacs and landmap imagery (TIF, JPEG);
  • 3D Digital Surface/Terrain Models (OBJ, MTL, JPEG);
  • Processed NDVI (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index) imagery;
  • Point Clouds (LAZ);
  • AutoCAD output (DXF);
  • Immersive 360 degree static aerial surveying panoramics;
  • 360 degree video flythroughs...

Orthomosiac/Mapping & Technical Datasets Processing...

There are many variables when it comes to producing mapping and technical dataset outputs - intended areas of survey, applicable cameras, operating altitudes, focal length, resolutions, terrain, overlap accuracy, urgency of required data/products to name just a few.  There is no single approach that will work for every aerial survey so ARC Aerial Imaging applies a point-based system to address the aforestated varying considerations summarised in accuracy, complexity and urgency cases.

5 individual multi-rotor drone flights, 40 minutes of total flight duration, 3 pre-nominated drone operating sites and 2 hours of onward imagery processing produced this single, 168,000sqm 600MB full resolution client-ready orthomosiac.

5 individual multi-rotor drone flights, 40 minutes of total flight duration, 3 pre-nominated drone operating sites and 2 hours of onward imagery processing produced this single, 168,000sqm 600MB full resolution client-ready orthomosiac.

Comparing 10 metre contour interval mapping...

Comparing 10 metre contour interval mapping...

...with 1 metre elevation information outputs via our processed drone aerial imaging.

...with 1 metre elevation information outputs via our processed drone aerial imaging.

Overlap Report Image.

Overlap Report Image.

Collection Reports and Accuracy Statements

Just as important, our georeferenced products will have an accompanying Overlap Report image that is generated post processing.  This indicates to the client and GIS end user on how many images contain a view of tasked survey location within the processed survey area and giving them an illustrative, informative representation and assurance on how accurate the aerial survey was conducted.

Generally, the more "looks" at a feature on the ground the system has to work with, the better the outputs will be (within reason).  The Overlap Report colour codes these numbers to inform the client when the system considers to be good or bad overlap coverage and helps them visualise the things that affect the collection of consistent overlap.

For example and illustrated to the right 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 views (colour coded in reds) of an area is considered to be inadequate for the purposes of reconstructing a 3D scene.  6, 7 or 8 views (colour coded in greens) are considered adequate for the reconstruction of fairly simple features like fields, basic structures or stockpiles.  For the greatest ability to reconstruct a complex scene, getting 9 or more views (colour coded in blues) is required to have the detail necessary to reconstruct complex features like buildings, trees or other vegetation.


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Agricultural Aerial Imaging


Agricultural Aerial Imaging

Agricultural Aerial Imaging


Agricultural Aerial Imaging

How precision drone aerial imaging and spatial analysis can assist agriculture...

Augmenting agronomy, assisting to detect potential crop problems, minimising costs!

Initially assessing a crop condition can be both difficult to ascertain and time-consuming from the ground...

Initially assessing a crop condition can be both difficult to ascertain and time-consuming from the ground...

With our ability to collect and analyse drone aerial imaging data, our comprehensive specialist services could augment and enhance the services of agricultural subject matter experts such as agronomists who may wish to take the advantage to identify potential crop growing problems promptly.  This can be whilst reviewing live imaging on site and/or also through onward processed technical imaging data to be included into their assessments whilst making actionable decisions more promptly.

This process of collecting aerial imagery can be further repeated by applying the same autonomous flight protocols in so that, for example, periodic crop monitoring can be continually conducted.

Prompt decisions can be crucial as it can potentially save a whole crop landholding from being affected by unhealthy sub-areas.  In addition, and as soon as a potential issue is detected, a more precise or tailored crop and landholding remedy can be applied and be further monitored.

... yet through the use of aerial imaging, assessing continued crop growth conditions and to detect any potential problems can be timely ascertained from the air.

... yet through the use of aerial imaging, assessing continued crop growth conditions and to detect any potential problems can be timely ascertained from the air.

Capturing multiple aerial imaging data on a single drone platform...

Multi-spectral (MAPIR SURVEY1 NIR + BLUE CAMERA) aerial imaging for:

  • High value crop health monitoring;
  • Potential invasive weed mapping;
  • Anomaly detection;
  • Weather damage assessment.

Visual (DJI Zenmuse X3/X5 RGB Camera)
aerial imaging for
:

  • Plant condition and excessive soil spacing identification;
  • 360 degree immersive arable landholding overviews;
  • Landholding overview orthomosiacs for documention and referencing uses;
  • DTM/DSM and contour mapping for landholding elevation studies for drainage issues.
DJI Zenmuse X3/X5 RGB Camera

DJI Zenmuse X3/X5 RGB Camera

Duel sensor configuration on our DJI Inspire 1 drone

Duel sensor configuration on our DJI Inspire 1 drone

Mapir Survey1 NIR + Blue Spectrum Camera

Mapir Survey1 NIR + Blue Spectrum Camera

360 degree agricultural aerial visuals...

Capturing aerial imaging of large arable landholdings can be a demanding undertaking for multirotors and this is where fixed-wing drones are more applicable due to the amount of imaging data that can be collected during flight.

However and unlike fixed-wing drones, our multirotors can stay static in the air by loitering at predetermined positions and heights over these large landholdings to collect vast amounts of oblique aerial stills.  These can be used to produce 360 degree aerial visual products (below) in order to pinpoint and document potential problem areas such as excessive crop spacing and sub-areas of exposed soils for more refined aerial imaging of and continued spatial analysis.

3D agricultural land models...

Cooperating with fixed-wing drone agricultural aerial imaging providers...

Pinpointed multirotor aerial imaging and analysis could affirm potential crop and other landholding issues initially indicated through the use of fixed-wing drones.

Pinpointed multirotor aerial imaging and analysis could affirm potential crop and other landholding issues initially indicated through the use of fixed-wing drones.

By providing large agricultural landholding aerial imaging workarounds by producing 360 degree overviews with our multirotors (above), we can also augment the agricultural services provided by fixed-wing drone operators.

By being directed and waypointed to potential problem areas indicated from fixed-wing imaging, additional aerials undertaken by multirotor platforms can be achieved by operating and loitering at lower altitudes to collect imagery at lower GSD resolutions (below) than fixed-wing platforms potentially confirming what was initially indicated or detected.

This cooperative drone operating model could provide a multi-layered aerial imaging solution for several agricultural problems.

Landholding data collection and analysis for high value crops...

NDVI is a vegetative index that can be computed from multi-spectral imagery to help assess vegetative health.  When our configured sensor captures the amount of reflected visible light and reflected near-infrared (NIR) light you can process those images to come up with a NDVI "value", which ranges from -1 to 1.  Plants reflect and absorb visible and NIR energy but they reflect less energy in the visible spectrum than the NIR spectrum.  As they become less productive due to stress or senescence the NIR reflectance decreases rapidly.

Vegetation will have a positive NDVI value typically around 0.5, with values lower than 0.5 being less healthy and values larger than 0.5 being more healthy.  Healthiness is based on the vegetation's ability to reflect the NIR light which corresponds to vigorous photosynthesis activity.  NDVI values close to 0 will typically be bare soil and highly reflective non-vegetation like bodies of water. Man-made materials like concrete, asphalt, plastics, etc will typically have a negative value.

We're a BASIS-registered provider of UAS aerial imaging...

In September 2016, ARC Aerial Imaging attended the 'BASIS Agricultural Awareness Training for UAS Operators Course' at Harper Adams University to augment its drone aerial imaging and spatial consulting knowledge.

The course serves as an introduction into the basic aspects of the agricultural sector and is designed for professional operators of UAVs/drones like ARC Aerial Imaging in providing them with a fundamental level of understanding and knowledge appropriate for their work within the agricultural industry and supply chain.  Furthermore, it has enabled us to join as a member of the 'BASIS Professional Register for UAS Operators for the Agricultural Industry' - one of only two registered UAV operators based in the North of England.


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3D Photogrammetry Modelling


3D Photogrammetry Modelling

3D Photogrammetry Modelling


3D Photogrammetry Modelling

Some of our typical 3D aerial imaging outputs include:

  • Stereoscopic Aerial Imaging
  • Anaglyphs
  • 3D Photogrammetry Models, Digital Surface/Terrain Models (OBJ, MTL, JPEG);
  • Point Cloud (LAZ);
  • AutoCAD Output (DXF).

Captured from specific heights, drone flight offsets and complimenting our static interactive 360 degree aerial panoramics and virtual aerial tour products, we can provide interactive 3D modelling of subjects.

These can be applied for a variety of onward applications including planning uses, surveys, structural condition assessments, reconstructions, restorations and visual explanation presentations.

This process of collecting aerial imagery can be further repeated by applying the same autonomous flight protocols in so that, for example, periodic condition monitoring and interventions on structures can be conducted or visual updates on new construction or refurbishment projects can be provided to project managers and stakeholders.

Oblique aerial stills (above) are obtained at pre-set flight operating heights, stand-offs from subjects and are automatically imaged...

The 3D textured mesh is a representation of the shape of the model that consists of vertices, edges, faces and the texture from the images that is projected on it.

...and are then uploaded into photogrammetry software to generate a 3D textured mesh which is a representation of the model that consists of vertices, edges, faces and the texture from the images that is projected on it...

...which are further processed to produce a photo realistic interactive 3D model (below).


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360 Degree Aerial Panoramics


360 Degree Aerial Panoramics

360 Degree Aerial Panoramics


360 Degree Aerial Panoramics

In addition to our increasing catalogue of specialist aerial imagery and spatial products, ARC Aerial Imaging can also provide static interactive 360 degree aerial panoramics and aerial virtual tours.

Captured from various heights, the creation of 360 degree aerial panoramics can be applied to give a greater visual appreciation of scale and subject extents which can be applied for a variety of uses including:

  • Major construction project progressional visual updates for management teams and stakeholders,
  • Commercial/Residential Property Planning and Marketing
  • Overviews for Estates for Environmental and Land Management Assessment uses,
  • Overviews of large facilities for security applications;
  • Outdoor business overview visuals;
  • Interactive and immersive aerial visuals for regional tourism marketing.

These 360 degree aerial visuals can be provided either via online or be created as a standalone product (html, etc) for their intended embedding into client-administered websites.