WHAT IS DRONE MAPPING

We use the SenseFly eBee drone for fixed-wing drone mapping.  With the use of post-flight processing software, we are able produce survey quality Digital Surface Models and Digital Terrain Models.  This also allows for the production of contour lines for Engineers down to a high level of accuracy.
We also utilize the DJI Mavic Pro drone as a videography platform to produce high resolution videos of all of our projects.  These are all tailored to the specific needs of our clients.  This drone is also used for projects in which the eBee drone is unable to manoeuvre.
The use of drones for commercial use in Canada is tightly controlled by the Government.  Our company has a Standing Complex Special Flight Operating Certificate issued by Transport Canada which allows us to operate entirely within the province of Ontario.

 

UN-MANNED AERIAL VEHICLE (UAV) INFORMATION

P.A. Miller Surveying Ltd. has been operating UAVs (commonly known as 'drones') to satisfy a variety of customer's needs since mid-2015. The company operates two types of UAVs: a fixed wing aircraft for capturing near vertical aerial imagery in both the visible and infra-red spectrums and a multi-rotor quadcopter for capturing video as well as aerial imagery in areas which the fixed-wing UAV can not operate. Transport Canada (TC) regulates the use of UAVs and specifies the conditions under which UAVs can be flown with or without permits. All UAVs flown for commercial purposes - i.e. for profit - must have Transport Canada approval for each flight undertaken. Our company is fully insured and TC compliant to fly anywhere in the Province of Ontario within the conditions of our Complex Standing Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). Our primary pilot is Captain (ret'd) Robert Byers who is a former Royal Canadian Air Force and Commercial Airline pilot. Typical outputs include ortho-rectified (scale-corrected) mosaic aerial imagery, 3D point clouds, densified contour datasets, visualization fly-throughs and aerial videography. The process of mosaicing (stitching images together) and then scale-correcting them is the well-known science of photogrammetry. End products and uses include:
  • Topographic Surveys;
  • Mapping;
  • Construction Monitoring;
  • Visual Inspections;
  • Stockpile Volumes;
  • Flood Insurance Maps;
  • As-built drawings, and
  • Real Estate.
Our specialized in-house software enables us to generate survey quality datasets for use in such applications as topographic surveys, volumetric surveys, mapping and drainage modelling. Furthermore, we have the ability to process imagery in near infra-red for such applications as crop monitoring.

 

FACTORS IMPACTING COSTS AND

CO-ORDINATION OF FLIGHT(S) UNDER TC RULES:

  • Proximity of the site to airports, restricted airspace and built-up areas dictates whether co-ordination with various authorities such as Air Traffic Controllers and Nav Canada Specialists is necessary.  If required, this co-ordination will entail more time spent on the project;
  • The number of flights required to acquire imagery will impact the cost.  This applies more to our fixed-wing drone and on average, we can image approximately 20 hectares (50 acres) of ground with one flight of 25 minutes duration;
  • Travel time to and from the site;
  • Time on site;
  • Post-flight processing time is dependent on the complexity of the site and the product needed.  For example, a site with many structures requiring software intervention to scale-correct requires more time than a vacant site.  Also, where ground contour data is required we have to clean the dataset in order to remove objects that don't represent the bare earth; such as, trees, shrubs, vehicle's, buildings, etc.

ACCURACY OF FIXED-WING PHOTOGRAMMETRIC PRODUCTS:

With properly controlled aerial imagery, photogrammetric products can achieve a vertical accuracy of between 5 to 20 cm vertically.  Factors that influence the accuracy are the ability to image bare earth, the contrast of the features being imaged, changing light conditions, flight altitude, camera sensor quality and software processor to name a few.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:

Contour data or ground survey information must be able to ascertain the ground in the images.  Tall grass. dense shrubs and heavy tree canopies will prevent accurate imaging of the bare earth.  The contours in this scenario would then be only as accurate as the height of the tall grass, shrubs and tree canopy.  We have software which will construct a digital surface model (DSM) by interpolating and then extracting bare earth from the DSM; however, it is a more labourious task and therefore would add to the cost of the project.  This technique is not appropriate for hard surfaces such as pavement and concrete where data is required at the sub-5 cm level.

Pricing

UAV pricing:

Mission planning, airspace co-ordination (if required), office processing ..... $90/hr,

Crew time ..... $100/hr

Each flight ..... $500

Deliverables available:

  • Orthophoto ( scale-corrected and geo-referenced mosaic)
  • Aerial mosaic with coarse geo-referencing and no scale correction
  • Contours at required density down to 0.20 m contour interval where ground conditions permit
High definition video footage that can be tailored to suit your needs.  Costs can be kept to a minimum where you do not require much video editing.

All pricing is subject to applicable taxes.

Pricing Considerations:

As we are approved to fly in the Province of Ontario by Transport Canada, we do not normally spend time in dealing with TC issues for a flight.  A minimum of one hour should be anticipated for any flight for mission planning and safety.
Generally, as long as the site is less than 20 hectares (50 acres) in size, we can conduct an aerial survey with our fixed wing drone in one flight.
For a typical project, a client may want an aerial mosaic and video.  This would be considered two flights with a base cost of $1,000 plus field and processing time.
In some instances, we can image the ground for a mosaic and obtain a video using our multi-rotor quadcopter which would constitute one flight.
Generally, orthophotos cost more as we must bracket the site with ground targets and geo-reference them with satellite positioning equipment.  For a small, open and accessible site (less than 5 hectares), we would anticipate spending 1-2 hours placing and geo-referencing these targets.  Additionally, there is more user-intervention with software to process these targets which can add several additional hours to the processing time.