WSP has integrated the use of UAVs into day-to-day operations. We routinely assess the use of UAVs on survey work as a more efficient tool that can provide much more detailed information than traditional survey techniques in some situations. The agility, compactness and vast array of sensors available for UAV platforms makes them an ideal tool for mapping and collecting a variety of different data types in all kinds of settings. Using UAVs means we can map more quickly and effectively, allowing large volumes of different data types to be captured rapidly at a very high resolution.
- Topographic survey and terrain mapping
- Construction survey and site monitoring
- Right-of-way mapping, route planning and crossing assessments
- Earthworks mapping and volume calculations
- Quality control
- Flooding, erosion and change detection
- Geotechnical surface modelling
- Drainage mapping
- Asset management/GIS inventories
Conducting topographic surveys and calculating volumes used to be intensive and manual hands-on field process involving several measurements, evenly spaced grids and numerous measurements. In many cases, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, also referred to as drones) can now be used as an alternative to quickly map an area.
The magic really happens in the office: using specialised software tools and photogrammetry techniques, a much more detailed model of the terrain can be produced from overlapping aerial images. The same data can then be used to extract very accurate dimensions and volumes for virtually any feature on the ground. 3D models of features, buildings and structures can also be created using the overlapping images. These models can then be distributed to a wide audience using web-based portals and GIS or CAD platforms.