Technology

The workhorse drone of our operations is the DJI Phantom 4 Pro retrofitted with a GNSS receiver for PPK surveying. This drone serves many purposes very well with its 20MP camera and mechanical shutter leading to images much better suited for photogrammetry. We can achieve the accuracy required for many tasks with this tool and accuracy can also be improved where required by flying a double grid with oblique imagery to better calibrate the camera focal length.

We carry several backup phantom drones and also a DJI M600 Pro drone, I’m hoping to put up some photos of them soon. We are aiming to get a LiDAR on the M600 along with a camera to allow for coloured point clouds. This setup will improve operations when it comes to vegetation and grassy areas so this will be investigated following our forestry project. We will continue to strive for the best technology and believe that LiDAR with the right drone will also further streamline mapping and surveying linear stretches due to less overlap/flight paths required and streamlined processing due to working primarily with data points rather than larger image files. The next drone sought will be the DJI M300 RTK, which is at the highest level of advancement in terms of AI positioning, directional sensing, positioning etc. The M600 Pro would still perform a role for potentially heavier payloads.

We use the Emlid RS2 receiver with a Trimble licence to an RTK service. We use the RS2 as a Rover for taking points using RTK and have an additional receiver so we can use a base and rover setup in cases of poor coverage.
We use many and varied software packages as well as some custom solutions for our workflows. Below are some of the software packages we are running on a consistent basis:

and many more…