Drone Data Processing Software | Drones - Accuracy and Opportunity for Surveyors

      Our Consulting & Services Manager, Shawn Herring, wrote a great article on surveying industry insights on drones. Here's a portion of the article:

Drones, drones, drones!  Over the past few years this may be the biggest industry trend for land surveyors and civil engineers, and probably just as important of a shift as GPS data collectors.

I started a surveying firm in 2010 with a focus on ALTA surveys, general boundary and topo projects, mass volume calculations, as well as construction staking.  We then got into a little LiDar scanning and really jumped into aerial data capture about 5 years ago and have never looked back!

I love data capture, whether from the ground or from the air, and trying to keep up with the daily technology trends and advances can sometimes be overwhelming.  I thought I’d put together this article on some of the lessons we’ve learned over the past few years when it comes to utilizing a drone in our survey department.

The Processing Software

            This conversation sometimes gets just as heated as politics or religion!  Many people swear that their software is the best and most accurate.  As I mentioned, I personally use ESRI SiteScan for everything and have for years.  I’ve tested others, and while some have other bells and whistles, I’ve really liked working with all aspects of SiteScan.  I have a pretty lengthy wish list of items, but with the recent purchase of SiteScan by ESRI I can really see a bright future and some exciting new features coming.  I will leave it at that, and provide links to some of the most popular photogrammetry on the market.


SiteScan from ESRI - https://www.esri.com/en-us/arcgis/products/site-scan-for-arcgis/overview


DroneDeploy - www.dronedeploy.com


Propellor - https://www.propelleraero.com/


Autodesk ReCap Photo - https://www.autodesk.com/products/recap


Typical Processed Data Deliverable – Most photo processing software delivers the same data types, with a few exceptions.  You would expect to get the following data once processed:

·         Orthomosaic (.tiff) – A high quality, ortho-rectified image is always avalaible and can be used within almost any design software.

·         DEM (.tiff) – Raw data - unfiltered

·         DTM (.tiff) – Auto filtered to remove man made objects and vegetation

·         Contours:

o    Shapefile

o    DXF (DTM and DEM)

·         Point Cloud

o    LAS

o    RCS – Autodesk ReCap format

o    LAZ

If you'd like to learn more insights on drones in the land surveying industry, click here.