Transforming surveying with UAVs

In Uncategorized by Paul GilbertsonLeave a Comment

I have been a Land Surveyor since graduating in 1988 and have been lucky enough to work on some of the UK’s most iconic landmarks; the Gateshead Millennium bridge, Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and more recently The Shard and The Leadenhall Building in London.

About 4 years ago, I took up flying RC planes and multi-rotors as a weekend hobby and soon became interested in flying first-person-view (FPV) as new technology meant that cameras became smaller and Lithium Polymer batteries lasted longer.

My interest in using UAV’s commercially began in 2012 when I first watched a YouTube video of a Parrot AR-drone surveying a stockpile at a quarry.

This was a task that would have taken hours by conventional surveying. Advances in photo-stitching software, firstly by AutoCAD’s 123D Catch and latterly, Pix4D and Agisoft have meant that aerial photographs can now not only be used to create photo-mosaics but also point-cloud 3D models.

In December 2013, I incorporated Breckland Geomatics Limited with a view to working freelance within the Civil/Construction industry and this also gave me the chance to combine business with pleasure and use my surveying and photogrammetric background in a close-range environment.

The Commercial UAV Show in 2014 was an ideal opportunity to see how this new technology was being put to use, to meet like-minded users and also to hear how the industry is being regulated from the people themselves.

Whilst the answers to most UAV questions can be found online, meeting people face-to-face meant that more of a two-way interaction was possible. It was after speaking to EuroUSC at the show that I decided to go ahead with my ambition to offer unmanned aerial photography as part of my surveying toolkit.

In March this year, I passed my BNUC-S Part 1 ground school course in Cambridge and am now in the process of writing an Operations Manual, the next step towards gaining a Permit for Aerial Work.

I will be at this year’s Commercial UAV Show and I am looking forward to see how the market has grown, what new technology is available and where the future of UAV’s lies.

Mark Adams
Director/Engineering Surveyor
Breckland Geomatics Limited

PS – For the full Commercial UAV Show speaker line up please visit the website and download the programme.

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