Help choosing a drone for mapping 50-200 km² of mountain (2000m to 4000m altitude)


I am new in the community and I hope I will be part of it for a long time;)

What I am doing right now:

I have just made my first flight last week using a Phantom 2 vision +, I am able to process the data to obtain DSM+DEM using pix4Dmapper and then AutoCAD Civil for the exploitation.

The company I work for is working in high mountains and we are considering using UAV to obtain DEM (for now we are using DEM from satellites, which gives us a point every 4m with a pixel of 0,5m). My first project will be to map 1 km² at 2400m altitude in 2 weeks, feeling excited (I will use their old P2v+ for this), we just need a sub meter accuracy, so that should be possible.

The future project I need advice on:

After this first project we will want to improve our technology to map between 50 and 200 km² in altitude between 2000m and 4000m, meter accuracy can work, less would be even better. (I saw there were regulation for drone flying altitude, our project will be in Chinese mountain, so no problem on this part…)


Please share your advices and experience:

1-      Do you think this kind of project is doable? We have budget, and we are a team of engineer, but other than that we have no UAV/drone specialist in our team (yet).

2-      What kind of system/config would you choose for this kind of project? Quadcopter vs plane? What GCS? Post-processing software (I just tried pix4dmapper for now)? And what kind of budget should I prepare for the whole package?

3-      Is it necessary to prepare Ground Control Point to obtain a meter accuracy? If so what kind of accuracy should I look for in my GPS/GNSS? What is most interesting for us is the look of the mountain, slope and so on... So I am not sure I really need GCP.

Thank you so much for any information you can give me,

I will keep browsing this forum for more information, but I felt like asking those questions to save time because our project is quite urgent!

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1. The project is doable.

2. I would suggest using a plane. 50- 200 km^2 is going to take a really long time with a multicopter, especially in the mountains. pix4d is totally ok.

3. You can get away not ground control points if you use an RTK GPS+IMU system. You will not get good results in the mountains if you don't use GCPs or an RTK system on your mapping platform.

If you don't have anyone with UAV experience in your project then you should buy a ready to fly system. Don't even think you are going to build something yourself. It may seems easy, but it's really not.

Here are two complete system that should satisfy your requirements:

After reading more on the forum I understand that I should go for a ready to fly system^^.

Those systems look great ! Especialy the bramor-rtk.

Since I am in China I was wondering if you knew chinese brand doing this kind of product ? Something like DJI but doing plane.

Thanks for the help !

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