Field Test: How Accurate is UAV Survey?

The buzz (sorry couldn’t resist) around UAVs is undeniable, but if I learned anything from laser scanning it’s that you shouldn’t use the manufacturer’s tech sheet to quote your capabilities.

With UAVs, this is even more of an issue as there are so many more variables to contend with. While I often think of the UAV as little more than a flying tripod, the fact is that flight control and geo-referencing options can greatly affect the outcome of projects. Then, you have issues of what type of camera to use, and that’s all before you even consider the software you intend to use for processing. However, none of this seems to deter the plethora of UAV-based service providers that call and email me each and every week looking for work.

What it comes down to is this: I don’t believe most of their claims. I simply do not understand how they can achieve the accuracies that they claim to attain. So, I decided to start running a few tests to see what was not just possible, but predictably achievable in a project setting, outside of a lab.

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