Monday, June 24th, 2019

A Air Aspects by Terry Young
Aerial Site Mapping and Surveying


Offers faster and more accurate options

Everyone knows that aerial photography is commonly used in such things as promotional material for real estate. There are also other practical uses for drone photography that are better than traditional ways. One of those uses is site mapping and surveying.

Mapping and surveying from the air can be so much faster than from the ground. It is very accurate, and because everything is photographed, data can be processed in many different ways.

During a recent project with Newport News Shipbuilding, we mapped approximately 90 percent of their very large campus at several set times during the day. The aim of these flights was to show parking lot usage during shift change times.

A study had been commissioned because people were having to either park well away from where they work, or come in up to 90 minutes early just to get a good parking spot.

To fly the whole area took about 30 minutes at a time. The photographs were then joined together to produce a high resolution map of the property.

From this image, the parking lots were easily identified, and the cars quickly counted by computer software. It was also possible to see approach roads and traffic patterns coming into the area.

Because the photos were taken from the exact same height, the final images are extremely high resolution and are very precise. They can be measured very accurately, and a boundary can be drawn to see its exact square footage immediately.

The photos can also be used to create a 3D view of the area, showing heights and total area of any objects. For example, a line can be drawn around a pile of earth, and the computer can display its total volume. Conversely, you could show the empty area of a hole in the same way.

It is also possible to render complete 3D models of buildings, which can then be viewed interactively by flying around, zooming into, and even flying through.

These capabilities are very useful for examining construction progress or for marketing.

Drone mapping can be effectively used to:

• Plan roads and to show traffic congestion
• Determine site suitability for construction
• Show status of various construction phases
• Provide 3D model for progress management
• Determine routing for railways, pipes or lines
• Calculate water flow and determine flood level
• Document a site for insurance purposes
• Inventory management, such as for car dealers

When you want to make an impression by mixing aerial photography and video in with your ground-based photos, imagination is the only limitation.

Terry Young is an FAA licensed drone pilot and professional photographer and videographer.  His 30 plus years of experience in pre- and post-production of both still photography and video, coupled with the latest equipment,  enable him to capture amazing, high quality images.