Platform for Aerial Photography

Hello all,

I am a GIS Analyst and I am in the process of putting together a proposal for my employer in effort to integrate UAV's for aerial photography of our diverse project types.  At this phase in the research, I am interested in two UAV platform styles for capturing aerial and video imagery; Fixed Wing and Multi-rotor. I am interested in using a Sony NEX type of camera for both photo and video. The resulting imagery will then either be post-processed using photogrammetry software or video editing software.

I have begun creating a rough spreadsheet matrix in effort to identify which aerial platform would be bested suited for a particular project type.  Hopefully, I am making sense here.  Still waiting for the coffee to kick in...

Below are two very broad assumptions that I have started with:

  • Fixed Wing = large linear and block surveys
  • Multi-rotor = small, irregular area, more focused surveys

I then include factors such as:

  • Multi-rotor = asset inspections (horizontal and vertical)
  • Fixed Wing = topographic surveys

Then more subjective factors have been included:

  • Fixed Wing = less complex than multi-rotor (hardware is less complex for which means cheaper operating costs?)
  • Multi-rotor = "Wow" factor

I will be adding in factors that cover training, learning curves, operator/user work time, etc...Of course the two platforms overlap when thinking about particular scenarios and "what if's."

I am throwing this post out there to learn from others who have conducted either or both aerial and videography project scenarios and which UAV style they preferred.

Please let me know if I need to clarify anything or you have any questions.  Thanks for your time!

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  • Building a highly certified Aerial film network. Have a growing client list that I will be working with so if you have a business and want to get more exposure and work, register a free business listing at Contact me with any questions and ask how we can help. We are Production company guys so creating cool visuals is what we do. Cheers

  • I'm assuming the camera has to fit lengthwise, rather than top facing forwards in the fuselage?

  • T3

    UAVs and GIS?  Sounds like you should talk to my lab.  I'm their hardware guy, but the lab is in the university's Geography & Environmental Systems department.  Our PhD student recently graduated and is moving to Panama for post-doc work using multi-rotor and fixed wing, so he's a great resource too for this stuff.

    I recommend contacting the guys on our site:

  • Hey Trent,

    What did you end up picking up for surveying? (if anything)



  • 100KM

    For fix wing platform, I'll suggest Skywalker 2013 carbon tail boom. You can refer here and  here for more info.

    • Good Day Sir,

      I am from Medan, would like to ask how to set canon s100 CHDK in multirotor , because I know you have experience using it, and may I see you with you in malaysia?


    • David that is correct. I have gimbal prototypes that would position the camera with the top facing forward. The prototypes are too large to fit in the skywalker airframe without major modifications. They would be good for a larger aircraft maybe a Mugin.
      • What are some other aircraft of similar size to that bird? Most of the ones I've been looking at are smaller craft, such as the Skywalker, Ranger EX, and Bormatec MAJA. I'd love to have something for sub $5k that has a long flight time (1 hr +) and can carry a camera with the top facing forwards. I'm assuming the bigger planes are harder to launch and land, and are less portable.

    • The carbon tail skywalker can carry a Sony NEX series camera with camera gimbal.
    • Can a skywalker carry a NEX?

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