Land Surveys is now fully operational with the latest innovation in surveying technology, claiming to become one of the first Australian surveying companies to offer an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) mapping service.
Recently granted operational approval from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Land Surveys’ new UAV mapping systems will complement the company’s traditional surveying services by providing rapid-response aerial surveying. Key applications include volumetric surveys and imagery for mining projects, civil construction and environmental, heritage and agricultural applications.
The benefit of this technology is that digital elevation models (DEM) and orthophotos can be produced in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks as is the case with traditional methods.
UAS manager Darren Wilkinson said: “Being a complementary surveying technology capable of mass data capture, the key advantages for our clients are timing and safety.
“We can capture survey and image data in a relatively short timeframe, without exposing operators to environments that are hazardous or inaccessible.”
Land Surveys has three UAV systems, each comprising a Gatewing X100 UAV platform, photogrammetric processing and surveying software, which can deliver orthorectified imagery and DEMs in all common CAD and GIS formats.
“Many of our clients are mining and engineering surveyors, engineers, environmental scientists and geologists who have rigid reporting requirements and are often working with outdated data,” Mr Wilkinson said. “To compound this, surveyors are usually working at capacity and sometimes struggle to deliver time-critical information such as end-of-month volumetric reports. Our UAV mapping service has given them the opportunity to address these issues.”
The approvals process laid down by CASA is quite comprehensive and involves a significant investment in time and money to create operations manuals and procedures, and for individuals to gain UAV operator qualifications. To date there is only a very small group of UAV operating certificate holders with surveying credentials.
General manager Bruce Baker said: “Our systems are operated by surveyors or photogrammetrists, specifically trained and qualified as UAV Operators. This gives our clients comfort in the knowledge that their data is being captured and processed by spatial data professionals.
“Those same professionals are also equipped to use additional surveying instruments such as GPS, total stations and laser scanners, so we can mobilise a single surveyor or two man crew with several tools, resulting in manpower cost savings.”
Unmanned systems are comparable to traditional scanning capabilities, as both services are underpinned with similar data management and processing strategies. UAV is a rapidly developing technology being used for many other commercial applications including general aerial photography and infrastructure inspection work, cinema photography, agriculture, advertising, surveillance, amongst others.