Aerial surveys by Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS, or drones) have been generating a lot of attention in surveying and mapping circles due to a potential revolution in productivity. However, one of the limiting factors to date has been the need to accurately determine ground controls points (GCPs) to spatially define the location of captured data.
To overcome this, Sydney-based Propeller Aero have created the first complete workflow with the release of their new AeroPoints ground control point system, which automatically determines location through satellite positioning, or GNSS.
Whereas you would previously need to perform traditional surveying by total station or precise GNSS, now anybody can simply deploy the AeroPoints, press one button and capture the data. This method then integrates directly with Propeller’s cloud-based processing software Propeller Aero for processing and analytics.
“Drones can fly over a site and capture incredibly valuable data for surveyors and engineers in just minutes,” said Rory San Miguel, Propeller’s co-founder and co-CEO. “But if you want accurate data, you need to spend hours on site creating ground control points before the drone flight.”
“These calibration points are critical for a reliable results, but they add a significant amount of time, labour and expense,”
“Now there is a simple solution: AeroPoints make the calibration points their own smart device.”
The DJI Phantom drone (top) and one of Propeller Aero’s Ground Control Points (bottom).
AeroPoints are essentially smart ground control points that make it easy for anyone to capture survey-accurate mapping using drones. The patent-pending technology provides a world-first solution to the two major roadblocks to commercial drone adoption: accuracy and efficiency.
Earlier this month, Propeller also announced a partnership with the world’s largest drone manufacturer, DJI. The agreement combines the Propeller Aero cloud-based processing and analytics software with the professional range of drones from DJI. Coupled with the AeroPoints, now just about anybody with a drone can perform accurate surveying and mapping.
AeroPoints are designed to be visible from the air and capable of quickly determining its own position down to 2cm absolute accuracy using post processed kinematic (PPK) GNSS positioning. They are also solar-powered, durable and weather-resistant.
To use AeroPoints, customers simply lay them down, fly their drone, and then pick them up again. They then automatically connect to a wireless or mobile hotspot when possible to upload captured positioning data.
“Propeller’s mission has always been to help our customers process, use and share the highest quality drone data,” said Francis Vierboom, co-founder and co-CEO of Propeller Aero.
“We’re thrilled to be delivering a product that will make capturing that data easier and more affordable than ever for companies across the industrial sector ‐ including mining, construction, quarries and landfills ‐ the reception for AeroPoints has been overwhelmingly positive.”
More details about AeroPoints and can be found at the Propeller Aero website.
Position Partners will be supplying the AeroPoints as part of an integrated solution in Australasia. To learn more, call 1300 867 266 or visit www.positionpartners.com.au.