Aerial Mapping vs. Aerial Surveying – What’s the Difference?

Aerial Mapping vs. Aerial Surveying – What’s the Difference?

Aerial Mapping vs. Aerial Surveying – What’s the Difference?

Aerial view of fertile farmlands Surrounding Urban Sprawl of the City of Brisbane in Queensland Australia

Assessing sites using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones, is becoming increasingly popular due to its efficiency, accuracy and cost-effectiveness. UAVs are capable of obtaining accurate, up-to-date data and offering a number of solutions depending on the client’s needs, including aerial mapping and aerial surveying.

Aerial Mapping

Aerial mapping describes the process of making of planimetric maps complete with contours and features extracted from aerotriangulation aerial imagery. Aerial mapping begins with photogrammetry, the process of obtaining accurate geometric measurements using photographs taken from a UAV.

  • Orthophotos – Aerotriangulation images are the 3D base product that is used to generate a number of other products such as orthophotos. These are generated by overlapping vertical aerial photographs and processed to take away perspective and the effect of the terrain. Orthophotos are geometrically corrected and offer high quality detail, uniform scale and true geometry, providing an accurate representation of a terrain surface.
  • Digital elevation models – This provides a digital representation of the ground surface in terms of height. It is useful for topographical mapping that includes every tree, structure and object as well as the calculation of earthworks and stockpile volumes.

High quality aerial mapping techniques are achieved with precise aerotriangulation or block adjustments using up to thousands of photographs using points of common detail and airborne GPS.

Aerial Surveying

Aerial surveying is a general term that refers to the collection of information conducted from an airborne platform such as a UAV. Information can be collected from various remote-sensing sensors, from still and video cameras to thermal, multispectral and hyperspectral sensors.

UAVs are changing the face of professional surveying by rapidly streamlining what was once a time-consuming, costly, hazardous and difficult to carry out task of completing aerial surveys. Some UAVs are purpose built for providing high resolution surveying. These are capable of capturing and converting aerial images into geo-referenced 2D mosaics, 3D surface models and point clouds, down to an accuracy of centimetres.

Other Capabilities Offered By UAVs

UAVs can also be used for:

  • Aerial acquisition – This refers to the process of planning and coordinating flying missions by using UAVs to maintain and operate airborne sensors and ensuring all data is properly collected and organised for further processing.
  • Aerial photography – The most commonly used function of a UAV, aerial photography using UAVs is much easier and cheaper than using other options like aircrafts, helicopters, kites or blimps. Aerial photography is mainly used for applications like event photography, art and other forms of visualisation and illustration as measurements extracted are not accurate.

Contact Arnolds for Aerial Mapping and Aerial Surveying Services

Arnold Development Consultant’s expert engineering surveyors have a wealth of experience at the most demanding levels. If you’d like aerial surveying services or any other services related to land surveying or town planning, please contact your local Arnolds regional office in Brisbane, Townsville, Rockhampton, or the Gold Coast.