What are drones applications?
What tactics must be adopted to implement such systems in an organization?
How can the organization get benefit of this technology?
These are some common questions by most of the geospatial intelligence professionals when the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, emerged. The article will talk about some of the civilian applications of UAVs and the key benefits that it provides for the users or an organization.
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Types of UAV
The two types of UAVs, fixed wing (plane) UAV and Multi-rotor (helicopter) design, have their specific applications based on their advantages and disadvantages.
- A fixed wing UAV has the capability of flying 100 meters above the ground level having a wide-angle camera for capturing the targeted area. The coverage area is usually around 100-150 hectares, which can be fluctuated depending on the pace and endurance of an aircraft.
- Multi rotors or rotary wing UAV move vertically operating at lower heights than fixed wings, and has the ability of flying in reverse direction. Due to the large amount of energy required to accomplish the task, multi-rotors have a less flight duration than any typical UAV whose flight lasts for 30 to 60 minutes. Coverage area for multi-rotors is not as much, resulting in the throughput of 10% as compared to 30% of fixed wing.
The technique used for image processing in UAS is close-range photogrammetric. It can be tailored according to the flight coverage and exposures. Providing much more accurate results than manned aircraft, this technique constructs models with high quality effects for acquiring optimum results.
The outputs obtained with the image processing technique include point clouds, DTMs (digital terrain model), photomosaic, DSMs (Digital surface model), and orthophotographs. The ground control largely depends on the accuracy and consistency of models resulting in surveying optimization.
The UAS provides much better flexibility than other technology. The system has the tendency to adapt itself with the variable conditions. This leads to acquiring data even in the adverse weather conditions or in case of urgent situations. With minimal mobilization and short flight cycles, situations like flooding and fire tracking can be dealt efficiently with the UAS. Moreover, the UAS does not have to face cloud cover as it typically flies below the clouds.
Most of the professionals consider UAV as the only tool for mapping given that the environmental conditions does not favor the conventional mapping whereas, the tool is limited to resourcefulness and creativity of the solution provider.
The main factors to consider before the UAV flight are the architectural issues and collaborating with state’s civil aviation framework.
The flight must undergo an extensive process of planning and testing before taking off. The data processing team and flight crews are advised to get training in the non-revenue flight even if the revenue flights are scheduled with widely spaced in time.
The flight professionals must consider the regulations by the civil aviation authorities that vary from country to country. Some of the restrictions include flight near aircraft route, over urban areas, or the places that are visible to the UAS pilot. Implementing UAS for all the mapping problems is not the only solution, but with keep observation and executing the UAV at proper situations will yield some unique and productive results.