Demystifying Drone Mapping

It’s time for a little Q&A. We have heard a lot about “Drone Mapping”, but what exactly is it? Let’s get to know Drone Mapping better and see how it might benefit your business.

Drone Services

What Is Drone Mapping?

Drone Mapping is a drone-powered aerial survey. Drone mapping as the name suggests, is the capturing of data using drones, and then creating maps out of the captured data. In layman’s terms, in Drone Mapping, hundreds of aerial images are captured and then digitally ‘stitched’ together to make a more accurate and larger composite image. This is accomplished using specialised GIS software solutions.

Drone-powered surveys and mapping are 90% quicker than terrestrial surveys, and makes makes the operations Safer, Quicker, more cost-effective and more efficient. A drone can fly almost anywhere. We are no longer limited by rough terrains, hazardous steep slopes, or unreachable areas. Moreover, drones fly at safer distances – it gives you the best results without bringing itself down to dangerously low altitudes or without shutting down the entire operations during flight.

How is Drone Mapping Done?

Let me explain how Team FEDS does this. Basically, it is as simple as Planing → Execution → Processing → Analysis

  • Upon aligning with the client requirements, the FEDS team details a proposal which briefs the best possible project execution strategy. This includes the drones and payloads used for the mission, flight plan, survey method, deliverables and anticipated data accuracy, estimated timeline of the project, and so on. Our team then work on clearing all the necessary permits from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) (and from GCAA/ADC if necessary). Once the permits are cleared, we fix the survey schedules depending on permission dates, weather conditions, and the MOD officer’s availability. Meanwhile, our survey team plans the mission for flying and data processing. This is the stage where they finalise the data processing agenda, perform the risk assessments and so on.
  • The actual take-off is the next phase. What usually took months with the traditional surveying and mapping solutions is now possible in just days!
  • Once the drone lands, all the collected raw data goes to the MOD for security purposes. After the valuation by the concerned authorities, we collect the security-check-cleared data from BAYANAT. The captured data will always have location coordinates, aka geotags. However, since our Survey team is particular about achieving the maximum possible accuracy, they validate the data with Ground Control Points. This refined data is processed to solve photogrammetry errors with the help of specialised software solutions.
  • Once the processing is done, our GIS team uses multiple GIS software solutions to derive valuable insights from the processed data.

What are the deliverables of Drone Mapping?

A single drone flight produces 44 million points per sqkm, which can further deliver output such as:

  • Orthomosaic
  • Digital Surface Model
  • Digital Terrain Model
  • Point Clouds
  • 3D Model
  • Maps
  • Report
  • Contours
  • Levels
  • Slope
  • Topographic Drawing
  • Asset Mapping

Which Drone is the best for Mapping?

The best drone will depend on your mission parameters. However, you can have the ‘best’ considering certain scenarios like the mission requirements, environmental conditions, and so on.

For instance, if you’re looking for construction monitoring and your site is small, located in an urban area, then you may use an entry-level drone like DJI’s Phantom 4 RTK. It has a maximum flight time of approximately 30 minutes.

But, if you are looking for an exceptionally versatile drone for critical missions, you should go for the DJI M300 RTK. It is built for the most challenging environments. Moreover, M300 is IP45 rated and gives you an impressive flight time of up to 55 minutes. Additionally, it can seamlessly carry multiple payloads.

Now, if your site is vast and you’re wondering how many flights and batteries you’d need to cover the entire area, go with senseFly’s eBeeX, as it gives you an impressive flight time of 90 minutes. For instance, team FEDS had to survey and map eight flood-affected sites, measuring 65 km2. One of the sites is Al Khaznah, a major highway that connects Al Ain to the capital Abu Dhabi. It was a huge corridor to map, measuring 50 km in length and 500 m in width. Our team used senseFly eBeeX fixed-wing drones. Click here to read more.

What are the applications of Drone Mapping?

The possibilities of Drone Mapping are limitless! Once the captured data is processed, our GIS engineers draw valuable insights from this processed data for many applications. Well, just to name a few, topographic mapping, architecture, engineering, manufacturing, quality control, police investigation, and more.

Whether surveying a parcel of underdeveloped land for future development, creating an orthomosaic map of a 100-acre farm to manage the cattle feeding better, counting the number of trees in a forest to counting camels in a desert, you won’t believe the wide-ranging applications of Drone Mapping. Let me reiterate; the possibilities are limitless!

How are you finding it? Would you love to improve your business with our drone-powered Mapping solutions? If you’re a little unsure about how you might leverage drones to uplift your existing business operations but really want to learn more, feel free to get in touch with us. We are more than happy to help you out.

About the author

Maria Thomas

Maria Thomas