How Accurate is Drone Surveying

How Accurate is Drone Surveying in Quantifying Stockpiles?

Drones in Mining and Aggregates, Part Three: 

Drone surveying vs ground surveyingIn Parts One and Two of this series, we covered the steps involved in drone surveying, and then looked at one company’s economic breakdown of the cost savings experienced by integrating a commercial drone into daily operations.  Drone surveying is revolutionizing this process and saving a great deal of money (and time) for companies throughout the world.

Now we’ll address a common question in regards to quantifying stockpiles with UAVs: How accurate is drone surveying?

The Right Stuff: Superior Drone Surveying Equipment and Software is Paramount 

Subpar drone surveying equipmentPhotogrammetric accuracy in quantifying and mapping depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is equipment. Factors such as pixel resolution, lens quality, accuracy and control, quality of GPS, caliber of software, post-processing procedures and more all directly affect the accuracy of drone surveying.

Since drone surveying technology began to explode and the FAA eased restriction on using UAVs for commercial use, drone pilots have come out of the woodwork using off-the-shelf machines and sub-standard cameras, trying to pass as UAV professionals.

Drone surveying equipmentWhen it comes to specialization like measuring stockpiles and creating 3D mapping, cutting corners on equipment just won’t cut it. The equipment involved in accurate drone surveying isn’t cheap. At Diverse Flight Solutions, we use (and sell) advanced drone packages that run anywhere from around $15,000 up to $50,000 plus.  When the Tom, Dick and Harrys come out of the woodwork offering specialty services like this with substandard equipment, the drone surveying industry as a whole gets a black mark.

When a drone professional with the right equipment and proper volumetric software follows best practices, study after study has proven that drone surveying consistently comes within 1-2% accuracy compared to expensive and time-consuming professional ground surveys.

Continued on Page 2: Case Study on the Accuracy of Aerial Surveys