Processing UAV Acquired Data

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for data acquisition is the initial step as part of the small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) process. Just about anyone can quickly learn to fly a UAV (drone), acquire imagery, and then generate a point cloud using popular, automated software. However, the question is can it really be that simple to create design level data; or is the right software, along with a professional, time proven methodology required?

You cannot expect a “push button” solution, which utilizes only an automated workflow, to deliver design-level accuracy.

Processing this data requires a more extensive workflow, specialized software, and skilled employees. DAS’ professional staff has over 450-combined years of photogrammetric experience, which is incorporated into our UAS processing. 

Automated Processing vs. Customized Processing by DAS

Automated solutions, such as Pix4D, are fast and simple, but lack the accuracy and customization that comes with expert manual processing with photogrammetric software. DAS processes and prepares the data to meet specific client or project requirements. We can deliver digital assets that include DSMs, point clouds, high-resolution video and still imagery, orthophotography, and other specialty data types in industry-standard formats.

Processing StepsAutomatedDAS
Geolocating dataYesYes
Photogrammetric TriangulationYesYes
QC Triangulation CheckYes
Digital Surface Models (DSM)YesYes
Digital Terrain Models (DTM)YesYes
Seamless Color Corrected OrthomosaicsYes
Stereo Digitized BreaklinesYes
Preliminary Design AccuracyYes
The table above compares automated cloud-based processing, such as Pix4D, with the expert customization of DAS’ processing.

“Every project has a specific data solution and our job is to advise our clients on what solution is best for their needs,” stated Ryan Johnson, Director of DAS’ sUAS Operations. “DAS determines the best method of acquisition (plane, helicopter or UAV) for our clients’ specific project, as well as processing. This allows us to provide a solution that best fits each individual project. This level of specialization and utilization provides our client with superior, more reliable data in a cost-effective manner, no matter which acquisition method is used.”

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