The long flight time of the Matrice 300 combined with the new 45 megapixel Zenmuse P1 sensor helps cut project times in half.
Few surveying outfits in Australia have more experience taking to the air than Linke and Linke Surveys.
While they have many birds at their disposal – from a Robinson 44 helicopter on down – the firm’s James Linke says the real game changer for them has been DJI’s latest release – the Matrice 300 RTK drone.
“You just have that confidence with DJI that when there is a new release, there will be significant improvements, and that was definitely the case with the Matrice 300,” Linke says. “The 55-minute flight time, modular payload and new safety features are major steps forward.”
“Recently, the guys at CR Kennedy steered us toward DJI’s new Zenmuse P1, and that combination of all the features on the Matrice 300 with the massive sensor and Smart Oblique feature on the P1 has helped me reduce my time in the field by at least 30%,” he says.
Aidan Chudleigh with CR Kennedy Geospatial Solutions says his surveying clients have been raving about the massive 45-megapixel full frame sensor on the Zenmuse P1, which allows them to fly at a higher altitude, capturing as much as six times the data in a single flight.
“Like the guys at Linke and Linke, clients are seeing the value in this system especially for projects like stockpile analysis and non-vegetative surveys,’ he says.
“The camera and long flight time can just cover a whole lot more area, often meaning that they can get the job done in one flight instead of four or five.”
But James Linke says the P1 has more to offer than just a giant sensor.
“I mean, the P1 is just unbelievable in terms of image quality, allowing us to fly at 100 metres and still the images are just crystal clear,” he says.
“The fast shutter means there’s no motion blur, and then the Smart Oblique feature where it automatically does all your oblique flying from the same position has just completely changed my workflow,” he says.
“It just flings the gimbal around and takes all the photos that you need in one flight – it is just incredible to watch,” he says. “And, then when you get back to the office the images are all there and you don’t even have to think about it.”
In addition to cutting down the number of time-consuming passes they have to make in the air, Linke says there is less guesswork and worry about operator error back at the office because the system is so robust.
“It’s bulletproof, and come to think of it, fool-proof as well,” Linke says.
The team at Linke and Linke have been running monthly flights at a couple of stockpile sites for EPA monitoring in the Newcastle area. With earlier systems this was a two day job – a half a day of flying at each site and then processing the data the next day.
“But now with the Matrice 300 and P1, I can go fly the sites and be back to the office and have the data all processed on the same day,” he says.
And with the P1’s ability to take a photo every 0.7 seconds, they are capturing nearly six times the amount of data compared to previous setups.
“But also, with the RTK of the Matrice 300 the geo-referencing of the images is so much more accurate that you’re not using so much processing power and you don’t need to fly as much overlap as you would previously have to have done,” he says.
“So, you’re saving even more time in addition to going at six times the capture speed.”
Additionally, Linke says that the safety features and the robustness of the Matrice 300 allow his team to have the confidence to fly the drone even in sub-standard conditions.
“With the Matrice 300 you just don’t have the concerns you would with earlier models where you think oh it’s a little bit misty and you have to worry about the drone falling out of the sky,” he says.
“Before, I might get halfway through a project and think I’ve got to stop because the rain is coming in – the 300 just has that much wider capability in terms of weather that it gives you the confidence to power through and get the job done.”
At Linke and Linke Surveys, the Matrice 300 RTK combined with the new Zenmuse P1 sensor has now become their go-to system, basically replacing any need they had for fixed-wing UAVs.
“We still have some fixed wings, but I don’t think I really ever see the need to use a fixed wing anymore because obviously this new system has all the advantages in terms of range and flight time as a fixed wing drone, but the huge advantage of vertical take-offs and landings,” he says.
Linke says investing in the Matrice 300 RTK and Zenmuse P1 system was a pretty easy decision.
“We just sat down with the guys at CR Kennedy and did the maths and saw that we could improve the workflow so significantly that it was almost a no brainer – it just made economic sense,” he says.
The DJI Zenmuse P1 and Matrice 300 RTK are available in Australia through CR Kennedy. For more information call the team at CR Kennedy at +61 3 9823 1533.
Information provided by CR Kennedy.