Photogrammetry is the science of making measurements from photographs. The output of photogrammetry is typically a map, a drawing or a 3D model of some real-world object or land mass. “UAV lidar and photogrammetry imaging applications are increasing rapidly. This is not surprising as using GPS enabled UAVs for aerial surveying is very cost effective in comparison to hiring an aircraft with photogrammetry equipment”. (Dronzone.com) 2017. To create 3D maps from aerial photogrammetry, the camera is mounted on the drone and is usually pointed vertically towards the ground. Multiple overlapping photos (80 to 90% overlap) of the ground are taken as the UAV flies along an autonomous programmed flight path called a waypoint. To overlap photos of the land by 80 to 90% would be impossible to complete accurately by pilot navigation. In order to do this it is essential to have a UAV which has waypoint navigation technology. For this we use the eBee senseFly fixed wing professional mapping drone (see “About Us” tab) which is the ideal UAV for undertaking such works.
We carry out large area mapping with a eBee senseFly fully autonomous fixed wing drone covering up to 10km2 in a single flight meaning with multiple batteries we can undertake huge areas while turning the information around very quickly. Monthly volume analysis in large quarries (3D model right) becomes effortless with permanent ground control. Our flight plans can be saved allowing us to fly the same route periodically to deliver accurate material quantities. With a minimum take off/landing area we can operate virtually anywhere and turn the data around very quickly. We work for many surveyors, undertaking their larger jobs as we can cover very large sites far quicker than orthodox methods, sometimes in a single 40 minute flight meaning they can have the data to hand the following day
Using eMotion software we create our location background map, we then use this to define the region we want to cover. Next we specify our desired ground resolution (down to 1.5 cm / 0.6 inches per pixel) and set the required image overlap. The software then automatically generates a full flight plan, based on GPS waypoints, calculating the eBee’s required altitude and displaying its projected trajectory. Once launched it is fully autonomous even landing itself. With the data gathered we can then transform the eBee’s high-resolution aerial images into a georeferenced orthomosaic raster (also known as an orthophoto), digital surface model and point cloud. These, along with other outputs such as contour lines and 3D meshes, are compatible with a wide range of industry software
Due to a combination of sheer height and extreme temperatures, flare stacks would normally need to be shut down in order to carry out maintenance inspections properly. Contraction and expansion upon shut down and fire up could possibly mask deficiencies in the steel and go undetected so using a UAV is an ideal platform to glean the requisite information in a safer, quicker manner, without putting an individual in any danger.
The Matrice M600 can ascend in seconds and fly close enough to the structure to beam back high quality imagery allowing engineers on the ground to identify problems. With the stacks reaching temperatures of up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, it is imperative that there is no ignition risk. Our craft is powered by six batteries opposed to liquid fuel therefore any such risk is nullified and with manual inspections taking up to 7 days along with the substantial production and cost implications of shutting down, it proves not only a safer but far cheaper option to carry out these surveys using a UAV.
Ground control points are set around the site with coordinates being determined using conventional engineering techniques. The camera generated images then identify these points which are used to provide scale and precise location to the computed model. Large areas can be covered in a single flight with no disruption to works, cutting down time and the need to be around live machinery. This software is particularly useful when carrying out quarry and open cast surveys. Please click link below for more information:
UAV’s can provide a periodic bird’s eye view of construction projects. Soaring high above the tower cranes and over rooftops, they fly effortlessly through a preprogrammed flight path, capturing the monthly progress of the largest schemes in a short space of time. Professionally edited with an optional soundtrack they provide an impressive snapshot throughout the build life of a construction scheme and can help give you an edge in the pre-construction and tender process.
Due to the extreme weather conditions that wind turbine blades/bodies are exposed to they may become damaged or faulty which in turn will compromise their productivity. We can produce real time imagery while they remain operational and by working with the engineers on the ground, direct the UAV to multiple locations to identify the problems without the need to scale them or shut them down.
It is estimated that inspection time can be cut by up to 70%, whilst the turbines can remain operational. UAV’s replace the orthodox system that uses operatives suspended from the structure by ropes. In summary, they are a cheaper, quicker and more importantly a safer means of protecting your assets, allowing pro active maintenance to be planned and accurate inspection data acquired.
We can perform an aerial survey of the intended pipeline route and map it out, highlighting effects on trees, rivers and the countryside without having to cross a field. Seeing the route from above opposed to on a plan helps identify any potential environmental impacts to the landscape. An as-built survey can then be undertaken post completion.“UAVs have the ability, through video and aerial photos, to help in scouting and routing,” said Rachel. “They enable us to get a view without having to send crews out on foot. Aside from the associated convenience and time-savings, this could also be a safety issue – for instance where terrain is precarious, around water crossings or where wildlife is prevalent.” Rachael Kohlman (About Pipelines) 2017
Historically pipeline inspections have been done either manually with hand tools or from above using a helicopter, being timely and expensive. Using a UAV we can pre program the flightpath using GNSS (global navigation satellite system) and track the route quickly and effectively. An ordinary camera will detect visual defects, but by using a thermal imaging camera we can identify deficiencies that are not visible to the human eye such as leaking joints and weakening of the external insulation whereby the transported medium is of a different temperature to that of its surroundings, this is also possible in underground pipelines. Miles of pipeline can be surveyed per day with additional batteries on hand.
Applications for the use of UAV’s in agriculture are almost limitless. For larger farms the slightest reduction in costs per metre square can total thousands of pounds over the entire area. Adopting a precise knowledge of problematic areas can help land owners target the exact areas to treat instead of blanket spraying. For this we use a eBee senseFly fixed wing mapping drone (pictured right) loaded with a near infrared camera which can identify low nitrogen levels and detect the growth of a certain field section (as featured on the BBC’s Countryfile programme June 2017) . The Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is an index of plant “greenness” or photosynthetic activity, and shows up on infrared images (below) indices.
“Multispectral imagery, the newest of these agricultural techniques, provides the user with unrivalled information on the condition and development of their crops. The farmer can use it to optimise his/her input and estimate return. The recent arrival of agricultural drones triggered a revolution in the use of this technique. Furthermore, their versatility allows quick and easy crop monitoring, making it possible to obtain an increasingly greater amount of information on the fields over the course of the year. Their use has spread rapidly in the world of agriculture; agriculture now ranks second in the use of drones worldwide”. (Very Drone 2017)
Freeze/thaw cycles, adverse weather conditions, lightning strikes and general corrosion are all contributing factors in failure and the need to carry out regular inspections and planned maintenance far outweighs the cost and inconvenience of cable failure. By using a UAV to survey, we can fly safely within 2 metres of high voltage lines to inspect insulators, fittings, gantries, cables and welds so shutting down circuits or working at height is no longer necessary, ensuring the network maintains optimum output. Due to its speed, vast areas of lines can be surveyed per day and the data turned around quickly.
Mobile telecommunications are vital for the UK’s economic competitiveness and in promoting social inclusion. “There are now 89.9 million subscriptions in the UK. In Q1 2015 61% of UK adults used their mobile phone for internet access”. (Mobile operators association 2015). With this level of usage it is vital network operators maintain optimum output and reduce downtime, keeping their millions of customers in contact with each other, and to do this they need robust asset inspection strategies. Mobile communication towers are both difficult and dangerous to access due to their location and sheer height (ranging from 15 to 90 metres) and the industry now realise that many tasks that keep these networks running need not put lives at risk. Aerial Optics use safe systems of work to allow high definition real time footage to be collated and used by operators in planning their maintenance regime.