HD Geo has enthusiastically embraced the cutting-edge technologies involved with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV or ‘drone’) assessments and survey.
UAV survey of sites is a step-change technology that we see as revolutionising site survey, structure inspections and inspections of difficult or dangerous access locations.
Why use UAV?
UAV survey has the ability to overcome the difficulties of accessing rock face or landslip inspections, site survey of areas of instability and also as a proxy for conventional survey work. HD Geo uses proprietary software for creating, interpreting and manipulating digital surface models (DSM) created based on photogrammetry from aerial photos giving us a technological edge in our industry.
Our Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) part 102 certification provides us with exemptions that have not previously been granted in New Zealand. This reflects our well-documented systems, our processes for flight planning, and the skill and training of our pilots. We incorporate planning and risk assessment/management into each flight, tailored to the particulars of each situation.
We use our UAV’s to conduct:
- structure inspections (e.g. bridges, rockfall protection structures, buildings)
- monitoring of ground deformations, e.g. landslips
- pre through post construction monitoring
- environmental and geotechnical surveys
Following the inspections we use the data in several ways. This includes visual comparisons of repeat surveys, 3D modelling which allows the creation of DSMs to analyse or compare flights, and terrain analysis to feed into further assessment (e.g. geotechnical slope stability assessment).
We have several models of UAV’s. This allows us to fly drones specific to the requirements of the situation, including a variety of environmental conditions, such as high wind, light rain, or where a high degree of survey accuracy is required.
Our UAV pilots are geoprofessionals trained with the appropriate additional flying qualifications.
We feel strongly that having the professional who will be using the data flying (in our case a geologist or engineer) is crucial to obtaining top-quality data and outputs.
We understand the requirements for the end use of the information provided by the drone surveys. This allows us to tailor the flight planning to gather the right information in one flight.
We also use our geoprofessional skills to be responsive to changes as they occur, or are observed, in the field.