Surveying Consultants Blog

Aerial Surveying

Surveying Consultants Admin - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Aerial Surveying has come a long way since its 19th century origins, when folks would snap their film cameras from the heights of their hot-air balloons. Today, the technology has become quite precise, and the applications are incredibly far-reaching.

There are a few different methods that can be employed in the use of aerial surveying, each depending on the demands of the job.

The most common practice is called Lidar, which uses a laser to illuminate a spot, and thereby measure the distance by observing the reflection. Think radar or sonar, but with light (hence the name). Lidar is used by archaeologists, physicists, and more – but in the world of surveying, this technology is invaluable.

While in flight, airplanes can capture a 1 km-wide perspective, and with the use of Lidar, measure elevation and terrain with incredible accuracy. Satellite imagery is effective in its own way, but aerial surveying allows for more specific data and more precise measurements. This data can then be converted into a 2-D or 3-D topographical map.

Another effective process is called aerial photogrammetry. This is where an airplane flies in a straight line, with a camera attached, taking pictures every few seconds. The photographs are then stitched together to provide a comprehensive overview of a given area. The airplane may fly at a great height while terrain mapping, or it may fly in at close range for surveying jobs that need to observe the exteriors of buildings.

However, there's more to it than just snapping a camera. The photograph is not the map – rather, it's a picture that's been distorted by topographic displacement, the tilt of the airplane, or various other factors. It can sometimes be difficult to determine an object's exact location, particularly in reference to other objects in the same picture. Herein lies the importance of hiring a surveying team with experience. There are ways to circumvent the complications of aerial surveying, but it takes familiarity with the equipment and the methods.

There are a number of reasons why one might be in need of quality aerial surveying, whether for commercial, philanthropic, or private purposes. This 19th century trade has evolved nicely, and is often more effective than satellite imagery, as it allows for higher resolution and awareness of atmospheric conditions. And, it is often faster and safer than surveying on the ground, particularly in steep areas, or places with a lot of water.

Whether you simply need the pictures, or you need a three-dimensional topographical map, the cutting-edge technology proudly used by Surveying Consultants allows you birds-eye precision. For more information on the what, how, and why of aerial surveying, call or Contact Us anytime. Surveying Consultants is looking forward to hearing from you.

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