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What are Photogrammetry and Aerial Surveying?

Aerial surveying, also known as photogrammetry, is a method used to survey land that would be impossible or impractical to survey on the ground. In recent decades, advancements in GPS tracking and photoimaging technology have allowed this practice to flourish. To successfully complete an aerial survey, surveyors will need a thorough understanding of the process and a full complement of essential equipment.

Certain environmental conditions make a piece of land ideal for aerial surveying. Land with a high concentration of pedestrian or automobile traffic is difficult to survey using conventional methods, so aerial surveys are completed instead.

The Differences Between Photogrammetry and Aerial Surveying

The terms “photogrammetry” and “aerial surveying” are often used interchangeably on the internet, but there are important differences between the two. The process of aerial surveying starts with collecting high-altitude photos of a plot of land using a plane or drone. Photogrammetry is the act of deriving metric information about an object from a photograph of that object. Photogrammetric measurements can be taken from terrestrial photographs, but a combination of aerial angles generally provides the most reliable basis for measurement.

How it Works

Photogrammetry allows surveyors to triangulate photographed locations and create 3D images. It also aids in the determination of geographic coordinates.

In aerial photogrammetry, you must first mount a camera to the bottom of an aircraft and aim it vertically toward the ground. To ensure that every location on the plane’s flight path is captured, the camera takes overlapping photos at regular intervals. These photos are then digitally processed and used together to determine the physical measurements and characteristics of the surveyed territory.

Equipment You Will Need

Aerial surveys require a variety of equipment for use on the ground and in the air. First, it’s important to determine what type of aircraft you’ll use in your survey. The options range from state-of-the-art drones to hot-air balloons (you may laugh, but that’s exactly how the first aerial surveys were conducted!) Drones eliminate the need for a pilot in the air, and although their price tags might give you pause, their cost is comparable to that of the equipment and manpower you’ll need with other aircrafts.

Aerial Targets allow easy visibility of the survey area and help you to identify particular points of interest within it. Blue Max Flite Markers are designed to be highly visible and durable. They are biodegradable, reducing the environmental impact of your project and giving you the option to leave your targets on the ground if you don’t wish to reuse them.

Laser scanners or 3D scanners are musts for completing surveys. Mounting a 3D scanner to the bottom of your aircraft gives you the best possible technology in measurement and imaging. At Engineer Supply, you can find mounts and other accessories to keep your scanners secure and protected. Naturally, you will need to make sure the device is reliably in place at high altitudes.

On the low-tech side, carrying cases and portable bags safeguard your surveying equipment against worksite accidents and normal wear. Quality aerial-surveying equipment is valuable, so treat it well and make it last!

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