Hydrographic surveying


Is there anyone out there who can recommend the appropriate drone & camera/surveying set-up to enable me to survey the bottom of lakes, ponds, rivers & marinas from the air rather than using sonar dragged by a boat?

Much as 3D mapping works above ground to calculate the size of an area, height of hillside etc. I want to do the same underwater.

Any advice would be very welcome.



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  • Ok thanks for your help Luke.

  • Hi Paddy.

    Bodies of water do not do well with photogrammetry. There are no tie points on the surface of water for the model to photogrammetrically render itself. Try a test over a pool of water and you will find Mount Everest suddenly appears!

    In saying this, you can get a DTM in very low (>20cm deep) very clear and static water. But it is not very accurate.

  • No way to do this with camera only. There is a possibility from airborne laser for shallow water, but this thing is so heavy for a drone, I only heard of real plane doing that. Echo sounder is still the only way to go.

    I do drone mapping and also bathymetric survey with multi-beam echo sounder and the typical gap is 0 to 2-3 meter depth where it is too shallow for the boat, and not visible from the sky.

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