Ragan-Smith began 2017 with the goal of determining whether or not Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones in most peoples vocabulary, were ready for production work. We performed extensive tests in late Winter that were detailed in a post on UAV Accuracy and another on UAV Volumetric Surveying. To sum those tests up, we were not very happy with the results. To be sure, they demonstrated that there were some limited applications for which UAVs were well suited. However, we weren’t ready to take those services to market given the accuracy level that most clients expect when they come to Ragan-Smith for services.
However, technology is ever developing. While it’s been less than a year since those initial tests we felt compelled to revisit the subject. Despite the earlier results, we never quit testing UAV systems in-house. Between hard learned lessons in best-practices for data collection and improvements in the associated hardware and software systems Ragan-Smith is now using UAVs for data collection on an almost weekly basis. The point of launching a Reality Capture Group at Ragan-Smith was to be able to bring the most up to date technology to bear on every project so that we were always using the most efficient system available to capture the needed data to serve our client’s needs. Adding UAVs to our existing lineup of traditional survey technologies, laser scanning, and mobile LiDAR has made for an exciting 2017. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for us!