UAV Aerial Survey

Terra Flight Aerial Imaging has provided UAV or drone aerial imagery services since 2015 as a fast and affordable approach for acquiring aerial data.

Terra Flight Aerial Imaging does not provide UAV services to the residential real estate market. 
Instead our focus is with engineering and surveying projects only.

  • We use a large and stable quadcopter platform.
  • Our UAV can be adapted with multiple sensors for a variety of projects.
  • Terra Flight only provides aerial imagery for surveying or mapping projects using proper photogrammetric software and processes.
  • The imagery we produce meets ASPRS specifications for Class I, II, and III RSME values using suitable ground control. This is an important element when utilizing any aerial imagery when survey grade accuracy is important.
  • We have several FAA licensed UAV pilots on staff.

Terra Flight has employees that have been in the aerial surveying business for decades and we fully understand all the technical aspects of the aerial surveying industry as well as the limitations of UAV acquired imagery.

Beware of start-up unexperienced UAV mapping companies.

Since the drone or UAV aerial photography business is relatively new, there are many start-up companies offering mapping services that have little, or no prior experience in the aerial image acquisition business or the land surveying industry. As a result, most of these start-up companies use cloud based automated software programs to process UAV imagery into maps or digital ortho images. This software is made available as a service through the purchase of the drone and is not considered accurate data to any published map accuracy standards. In addition, many of these companies do not fully understand exactly what they are delivering to their clients or even how the data is to be used.

Many of Terra Flight’s existing customers are survey companies who have successfully adapted UAV technology into their business model with great success. We continue to support these survey companies with projects where a deploying a UAV is not a technically feasible option.

 Manned Aerial Survey Aircraft vs. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Using a low altitude capable UAV allows a unique perspective that is not attainable with a manned aerial survey aircraft. Some projects can be flown utilizing our UAV more competitively priced and efficiently than deploying our manned aerial survey aircraft. However, we generally limit the size of any project to a maximum size of approximately 200 acres and will not use a UAV on complex sites.

Referring to the 200-acre graphic example below, our UltraCam Vexcel Falcon aerial sensor only requires 27 images to acquire this site at a pixel resolution of 2.5 CM or     1-inch GSD. To obtain this same site at the identical pixel resolution, a total of 3,096 images is required using our DJI Matrice UAV.  

 

uav comparison

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The number of images required for the site illustrated above, will vary by use of different UAV sensors. The number of images also depends the overlap configurations used. In the example above we used heavy overlap both with forward and side, in order to achieve higher image quality and accuracy results.

If the 200-acre site is relatively flat and unimproved, the UAV and the Falcon sensor both perform well in producing both acceptable quality and accurate digital ortho images.

However, if the site contains complicated improvements or a property comprised of groups of tall buildings, this is where using UAV imagery becomes an issue. Stitching together (mosaicking) 3,096 images will introduce inaccurate and distorted imagery or detail.

Let Terra Flight Aerial Imaging provide your next aerial imagery project by use of the proper technology and aerial data processing.