Terra Drone Europe uses drones (small unmanned helicopters and planes) for aerial surveys and mapping. This is achieved by combining low altitude aerial photography with geometrically calibrated cameras and a technique called photogrammetry. With these pictures we create 3D digital elevation and terrain models as well as orthophoto mosaics.

The use of a drone for aerial survey and mapping has several distinct advantages over the use of conventional aerial photography and/or GPS measurements in the field. First of all drones are very quick to deploy as they can even be flown with cloud cover. The results are also better, both in resolution and accuracy, as the pictures are taken much lower than conventional aerial photography. Also in terms of costs the deployment of a drone is very attractive. On average, the use of a drone is up to four times cheaper than traditional aerial photography.

With the use of photogrammetry, we are able to obtain all the heights of a terrain or object. For each each height (Z) we can also extract the location co-ordinates (X, Y). In this way, a digital terrain model can be quickly be created that enables in reference re to a ground plane, or if two 3D terrain models are taken from the same location at different time intervals the differences can calculated. The quality of these 3D digital terrain models is very high. Recent projects showed a maximum deviation of only 20 mm. The measured density (point density) can reach more than 1000 points per square meter! In collaboration with our sister company Deep BV from Amsterdam we are also able to create digital terrain models that extend below the water.

The individual images can be adjusted for the elevations in the terrain corrected for colour differences due to changing weather conditions. All the pictures can then be joined into a seamless orthophoto mosaic. As the image is fully to scale it can then be imported directly in a CAD or GIS as a backdrop and used for measuring or mapping.

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If you have any questions about the use of drones for one of your projects then please do not hesitate to contact us!

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