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.

Thanks!!

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    • I think this is a hotly contested question with no clear answer. There seems to be a good mix of both, but most of the RTM systems I've seen are flying wings. They each pose various challenges.

      Oh, and as far as I know the Anaconda hasn't been released yet?

  • So far the help and input has been amazing. Thanks to all the community!

  •  Check out the E384 from Event38.com. It can fly 70Km in a single flight, cover up to 1,000 acres at 120m altitude in just under 2 hours.  Not to mention the competitive pricing!

  • My vote for diy affordable mapping is a platform based on the Skyhunter. Enough room for NEX style camera with good vibration reduction and brushless gimbal and room for a couple big batteries (2 x 4000 mah). The fpv folks use this plane for some major distance.

    I'm wondering what your resolution and accuracy requirements are? If you require a high accuracy "photogrammetric" product, then that will require a lot (?) of well spaced DGPS ground control points to obtain good triangulation results. If you only need accuracy of a few meters throw up a Skyhunter or SkyWalker with a pixhawk and go at it.

    Do you need 5cm GSD or 1m GSD?

    I'm hoping to be doing some road map testing with my Skyhunter in the next couple months. What I'm wondering about is how many GCPs I need to maintain high accuracy along a 50km road segment. I'm planning on staying semi-legal by driving behind the drone and keeping it in sight.

    • Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your reply. 

      We are looking into an accuracy of 1m GSD. I think I will put together a Skyhunter or SkyWalker and give it a try. We do have a DGPS and will take note on the control points.

      Please let us know how your road map testing comes out.

      • Hi,

        If you require 1m accuracy on your contours and detail you might as well get onto Google maps pro and get your DEM and detail from there.

        The density of your ground control points depends on your altitude of flight and camera. The points need to be placed on the overlaps of your strips. There is quite a bit of planning and prep involved in getting optimal use from ground control to manage the accuracy of your job. The Mission Planner's auto WP routine works extremely well in planning these with the pic dimensions and speed considered. I achieve < 30mm accuracy with my quad at 50m relative altitude and 5m/s speed.

        IMHO, for a project like this stick with the pro's who design and make mapping, GPS and survey solutions. The guys from Trimble have a brilliant mapping UAV mapping solution that has matured quite a bit over the past years. It has been around and would serve you well. Check www.trimble.com. It costs, but you pay for a product that have done the full R&D cycle...twice and have been in the marketplace quite a few years.

        Your project sounds very exciting. Good luck and keep us posted.

        Antonie

      • My vote is for the Skyhunter. I also have a Slywalker, but there is very little room inside that fuselage compared to the Skyhunter. The Skyhunter has huge space, enough that a serious gimbal system can be incorporated. CHEAP. CHEAP. CHEAP. Bought mine from FPVModel

        If one could keep a camera at nadir, to a 1/2 degree or so (using a brushless gimbal setup), horizontal offset errors could be kept to under 1 meter. So assuming (ha ha) autonomous gps accuracy of 3-4m, it might be possible to create a product with overall horizontal accuracy of 5 meters with no DGPS control (just tie points). Or depending on what software you are using, a few good DGPS ground control points might be sufficient to obtain 1-2 pixel accuracy (via triangulation). But 300 km is a long road!

        A much easier solution, because you only require 1m GSD, is to order a narrow corridor of .5m satellite data (WorldView-2, GeoEye-1 or Pleiades). In my work I use these satellites a lot. Check the archives of these companies. Lets see 300km x 3km = 900 km2. What for a sale get the data for around $15 km2 (maybe cheaper). So 900km2 x $15 km2 = $13,500. Processing only requires a few GCPs. The beauty of using satellites is that the entire scene is acquired in a couple seconds, so colors, shadows, etc remain consistent across the scene. And you are only processing one image instead of 100's. Might be the right tool depending on your budget and time frame. I've mapped many roads this way. Just my 2 cents. But drones are more fun! 

  • Have a look on a Techpod (http://hobbyuav.com/) , we use the techpod for long range missions and with the proper equipment you could get 4h of flight time. As mention before a SkyWalker 1900 is another good option.

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