Surveying applications of photogrammetric UAVs - a comparison with conventional survey techniques

Smeaton, Curtis (2015) Surveying applications of photogrammetric UAVs - a comparison with conventional survey techniques. [USQ Project]

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – or Drones is a broad term for a range of aerial vehicles that are not manned. UAVs are capable of capturing ground spatial data by mounting a camera onto the UAV to capture photogrammetric images. These photogrammetric images are able to be geo-referenced using a process called ortho-rectification. From these geo-referenced images spatial data can be obtained and output such as digital elevation models. With the ever increasing access and reduced costs to this type of technology this may become a viable tool for the modern surveyor to increase their efficiency and reduce workplace risks.

The modern surveyor must continually adapt their field practices to match the most contemporary technologies accessible. In this regard, the following dissertation aims to compare the use of UAVs as a photogrammetric tool for Survey measurement purposes. The aspects tested within this comparison include: precision, accuracy, limitations, and overall operating costs of both conventional trigonometric survey techniques and UAV photogrammetric methods.

Initial research was conducted within the use of UAVs for photogrammetric image capture, methods were developed to determine appropriate flight planning, ground control, and camera settings to ensure a high level of accuracy and precision. Field observations conducted within this dissertation test photogrammetric UAV data in comparison with conventional survey technique data within an active civil construction project. A number of site considerations such as: ground cover, vegetation types & densities, buildings & other vertical structures, water bodies, and colour of objects have been specifically tested for accuracy for comparison of the conventional survey data with the UAV photogrammetric data. Field observation times, office reduction times, overall equipment costs and total project completion costs have also been recorded for both methods to determine a cost-benefit analysis for a number of different types of survey.

Field observations within this dissertation test these specified accuracies, and analyse differences in quoted accuracies. The critical objective for the comparison within this dissertation is to provide quantified evidence for the types of survey work that an unmanned aerial vehicle can be utilised.

Field testing was only conducted using one type of photogrammetric UAV it is recommended that further research be conducted into other UAV models in a similar comparison as tested within this dissertation.

Fixed wing UAVs are capable of providing high precision ortho-rectified georeferenced 3D photogrammetric models with horizontal accuracies of 20mm and vertical accuracies of 35-50mm. The results from the project show that UAVs are appropriate as a tool for topographic mapping, work as executed surveys, and volume surveys.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Spatial Science Honours (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: Liu, Xiaoye
Date Deposited: 31 May 2016 06:11
Last Modified: 31 May 2016 06:11
Uncontrolled Keywords: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, drones, surveying applications, spatial data, photogrammetric images
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0909 Geomatic Engineering > 090906 Surveying (incl. Hydrographic Surveying)
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4013 Geomatic engineering > 401306 Surveying (incl. hydrographic surveying)

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