Drones for surveying

Drones are suitable for measuring and surveying objects, e.g. roofs, facades, properties, fields and volume calculations of piles of bulk material or embankments. In addition, a technology is used that has made enormous progress in recent years: photogrammetry.

Photogrammetric evaluation of 3D data
Gif 1: Photogrammetric 3D data are evaluated for the preparation of offers (source: Pix4D )

How photogrammetry works

With photogrammetry, a building, parcel or other object is photographed from different angles. These recordings are usually easiest to take from the air or with a drone. The photogrammetry software compiles a 3D object from these images, which can be viewed and measured on the screen. The latest generation of photogrammetry software and drones are easy to use. This enables the craftsman or site manager to quickly and easily grasp a roof, facade or excavation and to measure it with centimeter accuracy on the screen. No expensive hardware is necessary for this, because today commercially available consumer drones already deliver sufficiently good image quality for a photogrammetric evaluation. The software calculates the ideal flight route and lets the drone automatically take the necessary photos under the supervision of the pilot. The image files are transferred to the computer and converted into a 3D image by the photogrammetry software.

What can photogrammetry do?

The areas of application of photogrammetry are not limited to measuring and surveying. The photogrammetric data acquisition is also suitable for inspections, inventory and agriculture. For example, old churches are recorded in 3D, construction sites are monitored or plant growth is assessed. For an exact geolocation, Ground Control Points and RTK to be worked.

What equipment do i need?

A photo drone, photogrammetry software and a computer are needed. Specific (pilot) training may be necessary, whereby a small online test is usually sufficient. The basic functions of the photogrammetry software can be learned in a short introduction. We generally recommend setting up and implementing processes for training and maintenance. Relevant decision-making criteria when choosing the right drone and software are previous knowledge, objects to be depicted and the required level of detail.

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro has an excellent image resolution of 20MP and its compact dimensions make it ideal for photogrammetric tasks.

What does photogrammetry cost?

A drone suitable for photogrammetry is available from CHF 1,000. A semi-professional equipment package with accessories is available for CHF 3,000. Software and cloud usage cost 100 to 300 CHF / month. In addition, 1 to 2 days should be invested in training. Professional equipment packages, also equipped with multi-spectral or thermal imaging cameras, cost from CHF 10,000 and are more likely to be used by specialists (engineers, scientists).

How can Koller Engineering help?

We put together the right tools for your project. We work with leading hardware and software manufacturers who have the right material for your task. We also offer training and service / repairs related to our products. Contact us today and ask for a quote.

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