How do I process drone survey data?

How do I process drone survey data

How do I process drone survey data?

Drone survey data can be invaluable if collected correctly, but if you don’t know how to process it, you won’t have much to go on aside from the images themselves.

To find out how to process drone survey data, read this step-by-step guide from a survey expert who knows what it takes to get the best possible results and information from your drone data.

Choosing the right software

Many different software packages are available for processing drone survey data, and it can be difficult to know which is the best for your needs. 

Keep in mind the following points when you are choosing the right software: 

  • What type of imagery does your project require?
  • Do you need a single or multi-user license? 
  • What platforms will you need to use your new software (e.g., PC, Mac, etc.)?
  • Does it have all the features you are looking for (e.g., photogrammetry, orthophotos)? 

We recommend Drone Services because it’s easy to learn and has everything a beginner needs to get started with drone surveying.

Choosing the right workflow

Streamline your workflow by choosing the right drone services for your project. Drones are powerful tools that can be used for various tasks, but you must first understand the strengths and weaknesses of each drone service.

For example, some drones use LiDAR to map terrain while others use multi-spectral technology which may provide better results depending on the circumstances. 

The following is an overview of three popular drone services:

  • Drone Services 
  • LiDAR 3) Multi-Spectral Technology

 LiDAR technology is commonly used in commercial drone mapping because it’s precise and detailed. LiDAR systems measure distance by measuring how long it takes for light to bounce off objects and return to a detector.

It similarly uses light to RADAR, but LiDAR uses ultraviolet (UV) or near-infrared (NIR) light instead of radio waves.

This means that LiDAR can detect objects through clouds, dust, and smoke that RADAR cannot detect.

Due to its strong detecting capabilities, LiDAR provides high accuracy even in complex terrains and high-density areas of vegetation due to its powerful detection power, which is why it is ideal for mapping workflows.

Understanding your hardware options

Drones are becoming more and different types of drones are coming out on the market. You’ll need to find a way to store all this data, which means you’ll need a computer or some other type of device that can handle large amounts of memory. If you’re using an Android device, you can use an SD card or USB drive. 

Selecting a processor

The next step is to convert the raw data into a format used by your GIS software. As of writing this, there are two major formats: ASCII and ESRI Shapefile.

With ASCII files, the data points are stored in columns and rows as strings of numbers; with Shapefile, they are stored in different elements (points, lines) and geometries (polygons). The choice between the two is largely a matter of preference.

If you are using ArcGIS, you will have to use an ASCII file; if you’re using QGIS or another GIS software package, you’ll want an ESRI Shapefile.

Processing Drone Surveys 

The first step is to identify the date and time that your flight took place. This information can be found in a few different places on the map.

You should also note the date and time of your flight while you are in the air, but it may be more difficult to find this information after you land.

Once you have identified the date and time of your flight, you need to download this information from your aircraft’s telemetry unit (see below).

To download this information, open up Pix4Dmapper, connect to your aircraft’s telemetry by clicking Connect Aircraft, select Download Data from one of the tabs on the left side of Pix4Dmapper’s interface, and then click Choose Files from the bottom tab bar.

From Data To Map

Now that you have your drone imagery and some way to view the pictures, it’s time to get them into a format you can map.

The steps below will walk you through how to process your images from raw files to a format that can be used for mapping. 

The first step is to prepare your images for georeferencing, which involves determining where in 3D space each image was taken.

Georeferencing makes sure you know exactly how high an image was taken and its latitude and longitude so that you can match it up with other maps or imagery.

There are many ways to georeference images, but it usually requires comparing a known point from your images (such as a building) with another reference point on another map or imagery. The two are then georeferenced by comparing coordinates – matching them up by their location.

Final Thoughts

Processing the data from a UAV (drone) photogrammetric survey is an iterative process. The first step should be identifying the raw point cloud dataset and creating a ground truth using traditional surveying methods.

This can be done with the initial or after the flight has been completed. Once you have created your ground truth, you will need to use software that can convert the point cloud into a 3D model of your site.

Several software packages can help you accomplish this task, so selecting one that suits your needs and level of experience is important.

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