Suggestion for drones for surveying very large areas

We need to survey about 23,000+ Hectares of agriculture land and wondering what drone options we got given

(a) We have to survey really large area and small amount of time.

(b) We need to scan whole area say 3-4 times in a 8 months, over the season of crop to record growth.

(c) RGB + NDVI camera is good enough for now.

(d) Drone which is easy to repair, as I am sure there will be many crashes during operations..

Would it make more sense for to assemble it our own given we would need bunch of them, and we would need quick turn around time in case of repair/crash...

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  • Why not use a RC Airship  1 m3 vol

    1 hr endurance   400g payload for camera

    • I think blimps is not the best idea, transportation and storage is a pain, expensive to keep the airship inflated with helium.

      And in contrast, Aeromapper 300 UAV:  1.5hr endurance, up to 650 grs payload for camera, parachute recovery, long range comms, handlaunch, and fully autonomous.

    • The RC airship I have developed uses 1 M3 of Helium only and I have a simple storage /transport /recovery system so no Helium is wasted so one 4m3 cylinder lasts all year at £60 ($100).

      I  can inflate in 4 mins ready to fly.  Small increase in volume would give 650g payload and or 1.5 hr emdurance.

      1 hr Endurance, 3-5 amp battery, 400g payload, camera gimbal, FPV, Low vibration, crash survivable, Helium recovery

      and storage after each day of use.

      Welcome to the LED - Long Endurance Drone
      Brushless gimbal -
      Servo gimbal and MFD controller -
      Over snow -
  • Why not use a RC Airship   400g payload  1 hr endurance
  • Hi RG:

    We are a company located in Central America. Currently we are flying more than 20,000 ha of crops each two months. We manage to cover about 3,500 ha per day (depending on weather conditions) with one UAV (fixed wing) designed by our staff. Our standard photography covers RGB and IR with a spatial resolution of 30 cms/pixel but we can handle spatial resolutions of 5 cms/pixel. We provide technical support to our users not only with the photography but with the generation of recommendations for agricultural management. The post-processing is also one of the services that we provide to our customers.

    If you want to know more, contact me


  • Survey "23 Km2 3-4 times in a 8 months" with UAV it's possible but the cost/benefit is huge, because the post-processing data of 23 km2 is not easy. Also you need take in account flight time, weather conditions, cpu time consumption, fails, etc. 

    In my opinion the best solution to save time and money is a combination: Satellite-UAV a)To survey 23km2 --> Satellite images (e.g. Quick Bird  resolution 0.65m, 5 bands Pan, B,G,R, NIR).  After post-processing -->   2) UAV only if you need survey small critical area.  

    • @Fernando,


      The last picture was acquired on December 17, 2014. On January 27, 2015 QuickBird re-entered Earth’s atmosphere."


    • @Darius Jack, You'r right, In any case it was only an example. There are others very high resolution sensors: WorldView, WorldView-1, GeoEye-1, WorldView-2 y WorldView-3.

    • @Fernando Vegas,

      you are exactly right about satellite imaginery.

      But there is something not correct about satellite imaginery at the same time.

      Google's made services flooded with Bs of paid ads still cannot afford high-res satellite imaginery in Google Maps and Google Earth products for large areas.

      Visiting webpage of DigitalGlobe

      resembles me 20-year old map interface by OpenMap

      On my Android tablet maps are neither clickable nor any sat imaginery can be


      Service of made of "customer call" "contact reseller" "CustomerCare" "Email an Order" "Products products and Products again"

      So service is all about making business, not one-time user friendly.


      Commeercial sat imaginery compares to drone done surveying

      like Unix-based mainframe computer to Personal Computer.

      Personal (commercial) drone, if not banned by FAA and Amazon one day, is user friendly and represents high-tech large-area surveying technologies.

      Commercial sat imaginery is ok for public administration, public funded grants, large corporations, not exactly for personal use by individual farmer.

      So I opt for personal drones, if not banned yet by FAA, Amazon and other fat fish.

      "Introducing WorldView-3, the first multi-payload, super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite. Operating at an expected altitude of 617 km, WorldView-3 provides 31 cm panchromatic resolution, 1.24 m multispectral resolution, 3.7 m short-wave infrared resolution, and 30 m CAVIS resolution. WorldView-3 has an average revisit time of <1 day and is capable of collecting up to 680,000 km2 per day, further enhancing the DigitalGlobe collection capacity for more rapid and reliable collection. Launching in 2014, the WorldView-3 system will allow DigitalGlobe to further expand its imagery product offerings. "

    • @Darius Jack Google Maps and Google Earth is for all kind of public.They don't need HR-image so Why spend money and resources in that?. 

      "Commercial sat imaginery is ok for public administration, public funded grants, large corporations, not exactly for personal use by individual farmer".

      I agree with you but  23,000 Ha (23Km2) it's a very large area, this is not a single farm.

      PD. Some prices of sat
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