Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, aka drones, are an invaluable tool to capture high-resolution images and map landscapes. They are dynamic, easy to operate, and are able to access infrastructure effectively without the requirement of man-handling. You can do land surveying, inspections, real estate inspection, and aerial 3D mapping with drones.

Land surveying

Drones are used to do site surveying more accurately and precisely. They can be programmed to cover acres of land and take high-resolution images and videos, map elevation changes with sensors and detect resources, and much more. The information obtained by the drone can be analyzed and processed in a much shorter time, thanks to automated drones. 

Aerial Inspections

Drone services can also be used to inspect remote areas that can be too dangerous for humans to access. For example, pipeline inspection, inspection on wind turbines, etc. With a drone, you can capture HD video and images of every nook and cranny of the inspection sites and monitor them safely.

Real estate

If you have a wonderful property to show off, why not use a drone? Listing agents of real estate properties have the advantage of using drones to create beautiful images and videos to attract buyer’s attention. You can use drone imaging to show the outdoor landscapes and the interior of the house for a more accurate representation of your home. Drone inspections can help save inspector time, energy, and liability which is a benefit.

Photogrammetry & Mapping

If you have read our articles on photogrammetry, you may already know what photogrammetry is. For those who don’t, photogrammetry is a process of extracting information about an area via photographs taken by a drone. Using photogrammetry, you can construct high-resolution aerial photos, make aerial drone 3D mappings, bird’s eye view maps, 360 panoramic maps, and much more. The practice of creating models combines UAV-mounted overhead sensors with robust GIS mapping systems for generating accurate measurements of landscapes and infrastructures. These maps are detailed enough, which helps to deduce valuable information from the inspection area. The images captured by the drone are then stitched together to create a 2D or 3D map.

Creating Maps Using Drones

Creating Maps Using Drones - drone 3d mapping - Geo Drones

Step 1

To create maps, you need to first prime up the process by organizing things in order. To do so, you need to choose your location, choose the right equipment and timing, etc. Start by gathering information about the site, for instance, the site size, access path, property ownership, safety requirements, site-specific security, etc. 

Determine if you need special permission or a waiver to carry out the inspection. It’s imperative to determine how large or small your mapping area is. This helps in choosing a drone with the right photogrammetry capacity. Make sure you have good light and weather conditions to keep your drone’s flight safe and take good photographs.

Based on the aforementioned information, you need to choose the right kind of equipment. The size of the site and the data collection type play a significant role in selecting equipment. If the land site is small to medium in size, you can opt for a compact drone with a camera of at least 20 megapixels. For larger sites, choose larger drones with Zenmuse X5S sensors to get high-quality and distinct pictures. Note that the larger drones are much more expensive than the compact ones.

Step 2

After you have successfully laid the information and assessed essential data requirements, now is the time to get your drone ready for the flight. To do so, you need to create a flight path in advance. When you plan to create a map, it’s crucial that you use an automated grid flight pattern to collect data. Using the pattern path will ensure that the images taken by drone are captured in a consistent manner and with proper overlap. Setting your drone’s grid flight with a minimum 60% overlap is a good idea. If the site you’re assessing contains more trees and intricate details, you need to level the overlap to 85 to 90%. For flight parameters, keep an altitude of 200-300ft and a speed of 11-12mph.

Step 3

Since the automated grid flight plan is created, flying and capturing data is the simplest work left to do. In the flight app, make a pre-flight checklist first. This is required to keep information in an organized manner and ensure that proper protocol is implied. Then, look out for weather and airspace conditions and get real-time authorization through LAANC if needed. 

After you’ve established all of the required procedures, ensure that the taking and landing location is level and doesn’t contain obstructions that may make the take-off and landing difficult for the drone. Now, set your drone off! Modern drones collect data automatically, keeping your flight path and parameters in mind. You just need to maintain visual contact with your drone and ensure that it progresses through each segment of your grid as you have planned. When the flight completes the imaging, every visual data captured will be logged in a flight log that combines with your checklist, equipment, and location information so that all of the data can be reiterated later.

Step 4

You need efficient processing software for uploading and stitching the images to make a 2D or 3D map. Now is a good time to review the data before proceeding to the next stage. The images should be clean and focused; blurry photos shouldn’t be used as they cannot extract valuable data. Upload the raw data to the mission page and review the pictures one by one. Confirm the quality and remove flawed or damaged images. 

On to processing the images, this totally depends on the software you are using. While some software requires software-specific training and a background in GIS data analysis, other software uses the optimized setting and lets you process data without much complication. As a result, the processing time varies from an hour for small maps to more than 24 hours for extended maps.

Step 5

The last step is pretty self-explanatory. Once the image conversion is complete, you have access to your data products. Now you can use this data to construct maps and models, such as Orthomosaic maps, contour maps, Digital Surface Model (DSM), etc. 

Final Words

Using drones to create 3D maps and models can be complicated, especially panoramic maps with 360-degree viewing. But there’s no need to panic as GeoDrones have got your back! With GeoDrones, it’s possible to create 360 panoramic maps with ease and convenience!

The map we create lets you mark not only objects intended for sale but also the surrounding attractions. This allows clients interested in buying the property to check the nearby shopping centers, clinics, post offices, parks, and the important points of interest.