Evaluation of remotely piloted aircraft in surveying applications

Metcalfe, Patrick James (2013) Evaluation of remotely piloted aircraft in surveying applications. [USQ Project]


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Over recent years Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) have become highly accessible to civilians. This presents many significant opportunities to surveyors, by giving them the chance to combine the science of photogrammetry with a personal, portable and self-piloted aerial platform.

But despite the obvious opportunities, many questions still linger. It must be remembered that this technology is vastly different from the technologies that are currently at most surveyor’s disposal, i.e. GNSS, total stations, laser scanners, and LiDAR. RPA are accompanied by a range of unique considerations. How fast and how far can they fly? What weather conditions can they operate in? What are the laws and regulations involved? And most importantly, how does all this impact on how they can be used for surveying?

The aim of this project was to answer these questions by evaluating the performance of an RPA after using it for a survey. First, an evaluation plan is outlined that is focused on determining the overall practicality of using an RPA in a specific surveying application—in this case, the determination of coal stockpile volumes. Several evaluation criteria are specified: efficiency, accuracy, usability and legal requirements.

An RPA is used to survey a coal stockpile area and its performance is analyzed using the evaluation plan. The accuracy of the resulting DTM, and the efficiency of the RPA is analysed by comparing its results, against the results of the same survey performed with a terrestrial laser scanner (TLS). Usability is also assessed on a comparative basis with the TLS, using the system usability scale (SUS). The relevant statutory regulations are also studied and the impact of these regulations upon surveying activities is explained.

The results show that the RPA is more than suitable for coal stockpile surveys. Accuracy and efficiency are comparable with that of a TLS, however the most significant benefits are those which have not been quantified—those being the significantly enhanced job safety; significantly reduced physical labor requirements and a greatly simplified workflow.

Although these results satisfy the aim of the project, it is recognized that the results can be improved by altering the evaluation criteria or process, or by taking an entirely new approach. A number of suggestions are discussed and included as recommendations for future research.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Spatial Science (Surveying) project.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Chong, Albert
Date Deposited: 13 May 2014 05:38
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2018 00:21
Uncontrolled Keywords: rpa evaluation; surveying applications; efficiency
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0913 Mechanical Engineering > 091303 Autonomous Vehicles
09 Engineering > 0909 Geomatic Engineering > 090906 Surveying (incl. Hydrographic Surveying)
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4007 Control engineering, mechatronics and robotics > 400703 Autonomous vehicle systems
40 ENGINEERING > 4013 Geomatic engineering > 401306 Surveying (incl. hydrographic surveying)
URI: https://sear.unisq.edu.au/id/eprint/24628

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