Suitability of low-cost UAVs in surveying applications

Cook, Benjamin John (2019) Suitability of low-cost UAVs in surveying applications. [USQ Project]

Text (Project)
Cook_B_Xiaoye Liu_Redacted.pdf

Download (19MB) | Preview


The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to carry out photogrammetric surveys for topographical survey applications has rapidly increased in recent years. The accuracies associated with this technique are still however relatively unknown. Through a literature review and attendance at USQ’s Project Conference 2018, it appears there is a knowledge gap regarding the accuracies associated with the survey technique for different terrain surfaces. Further to this, the perception of UAV accuracies in engineering, construction, project management and GIS industries is particularly misguided with many overestimating the suitability of UAVs.

This project has verified the suitability and accuracies associated with a low-cost UAV surveying application, specifically a topographic survey. This project carried out two surveys over two distinctly different sites which have varying site conditions for example hard surfaces, vegetation and areas with minimal contrast, i.e. sand, bitumen, gravel etc. The two surveys area conventional topographic survey using the latest in robotic total stations and a low-cost UAV photogrammetry survey.

Data has been captured using best practices both from published standards and literature reviewed case studies. Analysis of the two surveys involved a comparison of the data quality and deliverables from the UAV survey against the conventional survey. Analysis included points from the conventional survey to the surface created by the UAV as well as a volumetric calculation.

To assess the suitability of UAVs for surveying applications this project carried out a questionnaire/interview with industry professionals, (engineers, project managers, civil contractors, surveyors etc.) to assess their views on UAV suitability. Participants were asked to record their perceived accuracies of a UAV topographic survey for various surfaces before the findings of this project were presented. The industry professionals were also were asked to comment on the suitability of a UAV survey following my findings being presented.

In conclusion this project through analysis of data and deliverables and feedback from industry professionals has concluded that a low-cost UAV’s results for difference surfaces are varied in accuracies. As a result, the suitability of a low-cost UAV’s for surveying applications is limited to the particular application, accuracies required and the particular ground conditions of each site required to be surveyed.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 43152
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
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
Qualification: Bachelor of Spatial Science (Honours) (Surveying)
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2021 01:00
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 22:20

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only