Get to know the various drone technologies we use to obtain the right insights in every situation.
With the help of various sensor technologies, drones can provide a much richer data-set that allows for better decisions to be made. And in combination with their speed, cost-efficiency, safety and versatility, it is now possible to inspect your assets on a more regular basis. So instead of reacting to issues, areal asset intelligence allows for a more proactive approach. Find out how the different technologies we use can help you to obtain the insights you need to start working faster, safer and smarter.
Photogrammetry: a unique perspective from above
Areal photogrammetry is very useful for visual assessment. It captures high-quality images, 2D orthomosiacs, and 3D models to see in much greater detail.
1. High-quality images
Drones are versatile and provide maximal flexibility, which means that hard-to-reach areas can be accessed safely, easily, and cost-efficiently for inspection purposes. And from different heights, high-definition areal images may provide an entirely different perspective.
2. Orthomosaic map
An accurate 2D photo representation of an entire area, created out of many photos that have been stitched together and geometrically corrected. The result is a planimetrically correct image with a constant scale, that shows all features in their exact location. It comes with great zoom ability, so that you get highly visual information of an entire site. With high accuracy of 1cm/pixel, orthomosaics are more detailed in comparison to convenational satalite images. All in all, an orthomosiac is one of the best ways to efficiently and accurately map large areas.
3. Point-cloud model
A 3D visualisation made up of thousands or even millions of georeferenced points. The result is a high-resolution 3D reconstruction of an asset or area that contains height, texture, shape and colour information for every single point. In the context of asset management, 3D point clouds are often used to digitally replicate an asset to better coordinate and communicate the work to be done. It’s also possible to link inspection photos and videos to specific locations on the digital twin. It’s also possible to link inspection photos to spesific locations on the point cloud for future reference.
LiDAR: when attention to detail matters
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensors use light energy to scan the surface and measure variable distances. This results in a rich set of data that can be used to create high-resolution maps and detailed ‘3D point cloud models’ of any kind of asset or terrain. These models can yield up to 100 to 500 points per points per square meter, at a vertical elevation accuracy of 2 to 3 centimetres. With LiDAR, it is therefore possible to detect the tiniest objects that would otherwise go unnoticed.
This even allows for more accurate digital terrain models for areas covered by trees or vegetation: measuring where vegetation occurs, the density, and the topography of the ground underneath. LiDAR is also very suitable for environments with little to no light, such as underground tunnels.
Thermal: see what others cannot
Measuring the relative surface temperature of an asset or terrain reveals hidden damages, otherwise impossible to spot with the naked eye. These sensors measure all kinds of invisible damages, like moisture damage, electrical issues, problematic temperature variations, energy inefficiencies, and water leaks. The speed, ease, and cost-efficiency of drone-based thermal inspection means it can be carried out more frequently than traditional methods. And with pro-active maintenance, asset and facility managers can work smarter and identify risks earlier.
Confined Spaces: explore the undiscovered
Inspecting confined spaces is often dangerous, time-consuming and costly to perform. And even after gaining access, the limited space may hinder the worker’s movement and ability to perform complete and effective inspection. Drones are proven to be up to four times faster than traditional inspection methods for confined spaces – reducing risk to safety. The confined space inspection drones are equipped with on-board LED lightning, high definition cameras and housed in a collision tolerant carbon-fibre cage. This makes for an efficient solution for areas that require monitoring.
Ground Penetrating Radar: see what’s underneath
The traditional approach of using a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is often hard work, time-consuming, costly, and sometimes even dangerous. And in some cases, hard-to-access areas make it even impossible to conduct effective GPR surveys. Drones mounted with GPR make for a much faster, cost-efficient, and effective solution – one that does not comprise the safety of the staff involved. From the air, the GPR can see through the surface of ground, ice, rocks, freshwater, building and many other structures.
The Next Step
Questions? Or maybe interested to know what kind of drone inspection would best suit your industry or next big project? Let’s get in touch!