Types Of Aerial Mapping Drones & How Should You Choose One?
Aerial mapping drones are used in a variety of mapping and land surveying applications. They are used to assist surveyors in quickly, easily, and cost-effectively mapping big areas. The purpose of deploying drones is to speed up operations and minimise time-consuming manual mapping and surveying. Drones’ high-resolution, editable images and imprints are also far more concise and effective at capturing specific information of landmarks and assets for mapping and surveying.
There are 3 types of surveying drones:
- Fixed Wing Drones
- Single Rotor Drones
- Multi-Rotor Drones
Let’s discuss each in detail.
Drones with Fixed Wings
Unmanned aircraft-style drones with fixed wings are known as fixed-wing drones. These drones can’t linger over a single area because their plane-like wings are fixed, so they have to move to traverse the distance. If you need your drone to stay riveted in the air to take better images of the region you’re aiming to cover, this can be a problem. Depending on the size of the drone, it may be necessary to launch it into the air using a runway or catapult launcher. Surveyors and operators seemed to find this inconvenient. As a result, that characteristic has evolved in recent years. RPAS VTOL, a superior version of fixed-wing drones, was used by many drone mapping businesses to update the older version. These redesigned drones can be launched into the air in the same way as any other multi-rotor drone.
Drones with fixed wings are powered by either gas or batteries. The wings’ aerodynamics help them to cover more ground in a single 16-hour flight. These drones can be used for a variety of aerial mapping tasks, including long-range surveys, photogrammetric surveying, and more. After the surveying is completed, the drone must be landed using either a runway or a parachute. It can be safely anchored and carried off into the air without the use of a runway thanks to the incorporation of VTOL.
Drones With a Single Rotor
Single-rotor drones, which resemble a helicopter and are powered by a gas motor, are designed for long-term use. The launch of this sort of drone is comparable to that of helicopters, which require particular training for operators. These drones’ aerodynamics are excellent, with rotor blades that spin slowly but for prolonged periods of time. Operators and surveyors must have an aviation licence to operate it, as it can be dangerous if not operated carefully.
Single rotor drones, unlike fixed-wing drones, can stay in the air for longer periods of time; but, if the landing isn’t perfect, they can become rather unstable. As a result, taking off and landing the drones must be done with extreme caution. Single-rotor drones are typically employed to lift heavier payloads of up to 40 kg since they can efficiently carry the load without sacrificing fuel life. They are much faster than multi-rotors, therefore they cover greater distances in less time. Single rotors can be used to capture several photographs at varying angles and precision since they can stay in one place for a long time.
Drones With Multiple Rotors
VTOL Quadcopter UAVs are multi-rotor drones with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). To stay in the air, these quadcopters require a lot of energy. To make these multi-rotor drones spin the propellers first, surveyors must press the control throttle. A second throttle push is required to lift the vehicle off the ground. Drones with several rotors are mostly utilised to film aerial views from the air. Multi-rotor drones, on the other hand, are less energy-efficient and can only stay in the air for 30 minutes with a light payload. As a result, it is inefficient for transporting large loads into the air.
To avoid damage or danger to the drone or the surrounding region, it is critical to land the multi-rotor drone securely. Using the throttle to get the drone to hover approximately a foot above the ground and then cutting the throttle for a gentle and safe vertical landing is recommended for landing drones like these. Drones like these are frequently used to inspect structures, bridges, powerlines, construction sites, and a variety of other regions.
Important Considerations When Selecting a Mapping/Surveying Drone
Now that we have established the types of mapping/surveying drones, it’s time to look at the factors before buying a surveying drone.
1. The appropriate type
It would not be difficult to choose one, as we discussed previously. Both fixed-wing and multi-rotor drones can help with mapping surveys. It depends on your budget, the size of the survey area, and your ability to operate them. To give you a heads up, a multi-rotor drone can hover in a fixed spot for a long time, whereas fixed-wing drones can cover a lot of ground in less time, so choose a drone that fits your needs. Multi-rotor drones are inexpensive and widely available, although they are not as energy efficient as fixed-wing drones, which are more expensive.
2. Quality of the camera
To take better aerial surveying shots, you’ll need not only an efficient drone, but also one with a high-quality camera that can capture clear and detailed images. As a result, you should choose a camera that can catch as many minute details on the ground as feasible. To record photogrammetry, choose cameras that can shoot 4K HD films and images with a resolution of 12 MP or greater.
3. RTK compatibility
Drones nowadays come with a built-in GPS for tracking their location. During the autonomous flight, the GPS offers flight stabilisation and tracking systems for drones. During mapping surveys, the GPS receiver geotags photographs automatically. Mapping software can produce a 3D model of the landscape using spatial data taken by the drone.
However, GPS data can have issues for a variety of reasons and circumstances. As a result, drone mapping firms have addressed and resolved this issue by including RTK technology in their drones. Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) is a technique for enhancing GPS data by incorporating kinematic measurements. RTK is based on the continual correction of GPS data in close proximity to a permanent ground station. It is feasible to increase location accuracy by employing real-time differentiation. Having a drone with RTK built-in is a win-win situation, however, upgrading can be expensive.
So there you have it! Here’s all you need to know about aerial mapping drones so you can buy the best one for your project. I hope the drone type comparison and considerations helped you figure out exactly what you require. If you have any queries or recommendations, please contact us. Take care until then!