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Learn why more and more land surveyors are turning to mapping drones to collect their point data.

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Drones For Surveying

Drones can reduce the time spent collecting accurate data. By acquiring data from the sky – in the form of geo-referenced digital aerial images, with resolutions as sharp as 1.5 cm (0.6 in) per pixel – you can gather millions of data points in one short flight. With collection made so simple, you can focus your energy on using and analyzing data, rather than working out how to gather it. Less time spent on the ground means staff safety is improved by minimizing risk to surveying teams when measuring sites such as mines, unstable slopes and transport routes. Simply choose take-off and landing locations that are out of harm’s way.

Typical Drone Surveying Workflow

Flight planning

  • Choose/import base map
  • Highlight coverage area (rectangle/polygon)
  • Set desired Ground Sampling Distance (i.e. 5 cm (2 in) / pixel)
    • Flight altitude defined automatically as a result (e.g. 5 cm/pixel = 162 m altitude using default eBee WX camera)
    • This altitude determines maximum single-flight coverage possible
    • Automatic definition of flight lines & image capture points
  • Set image overlap
    • Necessary for stereo coverage
  • Define safe landing zone

Setting of on-site GCPs

  • For absolute X,Y, Z accuracy of down to 3 cm / 5 cm (1.2 in / 2 in)
  • No GCPs required, to achieve similar accuracy, if using eBee RTK
  • Optimal size & shape of GCP targets defined by GSD of imagery


  • Autonomous flight
  • Monitor progress/change flight plan via flight control software
  • Automated landing as per defined landing zone

Import images

  • On-board SD card contains images and flight log (.bbx file)
  • Images geo-tagged according to flight log during importation
  • Generate Quality Report on site to verify quality and coverage

Generation of orthomosaics and 3D point clouds

  • Using post-flight photogrammetry software
  • Relative orthomosaic/3D model accuracy: 1-3x GSD

Analysis/production of deliverables

  • Creation of break lines, reference points, digital elevation models, contour lines
  • Calculation & analysis of volumes and stockpiles
  • Export of output files (geoTIFF, obj, dxf, shape, LAS, KML tiles etc.) to third-party software as required (see below)

Final report/deliverable creation in third-party software


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