Surveying - Photogrammetry

Surveys usually form the foundation of every project. Classic images of the situation as-is are derived from Total Station, GNSS and a terrestrial laser scanner. Flights were until recently only made for larger areas, as flight hours in manned aircraft are expensive, and so too the associated equipment. As such, it was only practical to use aerial photography for areas over 5 km² in size. Hand in hand with substantial improvements in digital photography, processing software and affordable computer performance, as well the development of unmanned, remote-controlled aircraft, it is now finally possible to provide flights over small areas, using terrestrial photogrammetry, in a fast, precise and affordable manner! Naturally, there are certain limitations: problems can arise, for example, in areas of dense vegetation or over flat, reflective surfaces. Yet for many areas the advent of drones and digital cameras has provided the first affordable solution to capturing the desired data.

The Preliminary Survey

A classic task for surveyors is establishing the situation as-is. In some sectors, this task has been revolutionised by the aid of UAVs and digital cameras. The bird’s eye view permits the quick, precise and complete capture of all visible elements of the measured area, with correct heights and orientation. Resurveying for forgotten or later assigned elements becomes redundant, as a 3D likeness of reality has already been created.

In many of the following examples we will constantly arrive at the conclusion: Why send a human into danger when a UAV flyover can cover all bases?  [more info]

Ski Resorts

Ski resorts present an ideal area of operations for UAVs; most of the surfaces are free of vegetation and therefore fantastic for applying photogrammetry!

In addition to the comprehensive surveying of piste surfaces for project planning or implementing snow management systems like iCON Alpine, Snowsat or ARENA, a “drone survey” is also ideal for updating individual areas of the resort in order to then attach these changes to the existing resort-wide model.

Such terrain imaging is exceptionally suited to the planning of snow parks and reservoirs. [more]

Geology

All too often, geologists find “hard” facts difficult to come by when making decisions: exact terrain models might not be available, some zones are difficult or dangerous to reach, and as a result it is impossible to develop a picture of the situation in the field.

Our camera-equipped multirotors can help! In order to support the experience and knowledge of the geologist in the field, we can inspect cliff faces from a safe position, deliver terrain models for debris, landslide and avalanche simulations, and calculate volumes using a 3D model of the assumed surfaces of a fissure. [more]

Archaeology and Building Research

If you go digging, you’ll find something - or at least that seems to be the case for building sites! In this arena, time is of the essence and a flying camera can be very helpful indeed. Photogrammetry is also an excellent method of documenting all accessible and inaccessible patches of buildings, forts, castles and ruins. [more]

3D Printing Data

Advances in 3D printing technology have facilitated the fabrication of precise and accurately scaled 3D models. These are ideal for architectural models, representative models for marketing purposes or as engaging models for planning company operations.

Methods and Equipment

The concept of “measuring with pictures” is itself older than manned flight; the first consideration of images for surveying were made over 150 years ago. Yet these past 15 decades have seen a rapid development in image capturing and processing, a development further stimulated by its use in military reconnaissance. The last 10-15 years have seen computing power become ever more affordable, much like the cost of the previously highly specialised computer programmes which are now spreading further than before.  [more]