Hi everyone,

I would like to know what you think is the best solution (price/quality/ease of use) for mapping around 300km (180 miles) of a highway??

We need to do photogrammetry of this project and I have suggested the use of a UAV instead of a manned aircraft.

I imagine that we will need a fix wing solution (or solutions) for doing this project but I would like to have further information.

Any information is useful.


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  • You could easily do this with off the shelf parts. A fully loaded skywalker with mapping gear could do 30km segments at at time, autonomously. You would just have to follow it in a car.  You could get the whole 300km done in a week. 

    • Or as the last post said, do it in 2 hours, rather than a week. I know people don't want to hear this on an unmanned forum, but a lot of remote sensing companies that have both uav and manned photogrammetry capabilities, just end up using the manned or satellite platform every time due to the speed and ease of use to get a pilot and a cessna.

      What we don't know is, where is this 300km of highway, at 14000ft in the mountains in Peru, in a war torn area where a manned plane would be shot at, in a country where the government controls the aviation industry requiring big bribes to get a manned plane to do a survey like this.  These are the areas where UAV's have a competitive advantage.

      • Hi Adam,

        We cant use manned aircraft for this project and this will be in a country with little control over UAV's, would be at sea level, no security issues for the operator(s).


        • Can I please ask why a manned aircraft can't be used?

          • Adam,

            Because we are trying to prove the we can compete with manned aircraft while using UAV´s, so we have to work with an unmanned platform.

            • Hi Silverzorra,

              Your results would make a great blog on this website.  A lot of people on this website would love for UAV's to be their job, so if we can find markets where UAV's are more competitive than manned aircraft that would help people a lot.



  • If its a one time thing, you might just ask around at the local airport to see if anyone has a Cessna with camera port.  They are surprisingly common.  Setting up a simple camera/gps to shoot out the bottom takes very little time, and you can fly 300 km in under two hours, with a professional pilot for a cost that likely would be a lot less than that of drone. They can easily fly a swath right down the center and deal with ATC, etc.  It wouldn't even be hard to put a few flights lines into Google Earth and have that visible with GPS location to the pilot on a laptop if you wanted to get fancy and do multiple swaths.

    If this would lead to more similar work that you could do in house, then that's a different story. But using a plane to start could a be good test of just the camera/gps components.

    • This is will not be a one time thing... so we are still open to ideas since we will be doing in house work. The manned aircraft is out of the question since the project has to be donde with an UAV. Thanks!!!

  • I will consider this http://www.c-astral.com

    C-Astral Aerospace
    • It's funny, I have a skywalker X-8 based on a Pixhawk that is roughly the same size, lighter, gets around those flight times, and even carries a similar camera system (minus the IR). In fact, fully loaded, it even cruises at the same speed, but costs less than $1000, with a launcher. I love the DIY projects for a reason :)

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