Author Archives: Gordon S

Alternatives to ground control in drone mapping

In my previous article I highlighted the importance of ground control for aerial drone surveying. You really can’t provide a GIS ready product unless it is coordinated by ground control. Or can you? Now I am not going to start advocating not using ground control but what if you can’t acquire ground control for your given area of interest. Are there other options?? Well yes there are. They are not as accurate as supplying surveyed ground control but they will provide a product which can be used in your system if you just need to view a mosaiced image.

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Considerations before you fly your drone for Mapping

In my position I talk to a lot of different clients about their requirements for drones. I hear of clients wanting high resolution aerial photography, elevation models, performing volumetric analysis, outputting point clouds for updating engineering designs, change monitoring and inspection scenarios. Every client has different thoughts and ideas on how they best make use of their investment. In all of these great ideas I often find that there is a great void between the understanding of what a client is looking for and their understanding of what is achievable.

Whether you purchase a helicopter, smaller quad copter or a fixed wing drone, all are delivered a flight control unit and flight management software. You’ll often though have to supply your own Smart Phone or tablet to run the software. However, it is not until you decide on exactly what you want to use the drone for, does the realisation of what is really required to achieved those results become apparent. If you are going to use it for talking single aerial pictures or video then the manual flight controller might be sufficient, however if you want to be able to use the drone for comprehensive orthomosaics or elevation modeling then there are key considerations that are required.

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GDA2020 Transformations & ArcGIS

GDA2020 logo - text under symbolIn my previous articles on GDA2020 I have highlighted some of the considerations that organisations need to have when migrating to the new datum and reasons why Australia is deploying new datum. These I hope have at least prepared you for what’s about to come.

 

In March Geoscience Australia released an interim paper

(http://www.icsm.gov.au/gda2020/InterimReleaseNoteV1.0.pdf)

regarding the definition of GDA2020 and its relationships to GDA94 and the International Terrestrial Reference Frame 2014 (ITRF2014) using similarity transformations. This provided the foundation for including the new datum into the Esri suite of products.

 

 

Shortly Geoscience Australia will release the full definitions for the GDA2020 datum and the NTv2.0 high resolution grid files for the accurate transformations from GDA94 to GDA2020. In preparation for this Esri Australia, Esri and Geoscience Australia have been working together to have the definitions and transformations available in the ArcGIS software suite. Esri is due to release an update for their ArcGIS 10.5.1 and ArcGIS Pro 2.0 suite of products. We anticipate this to be available mid to late June. These will be the first Esri products to include the GDA2020 definitions and transformations.

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ArcGIS Pro for Imagery Analysis

In previous blogs, I have spoken about how imagery can be utilised within the ArcGIS Platform and how it can be analysed. Through all this it has been about imagery can be viewed downstream. What about the prepossessing or specialised analysis not through web services? Well this is where ArcGIS Pro comes in.

In 2017 Esri has stated that their goal is for ArcGIS Pro to be functionally equivalent or better than the current toolsets in ArcMap. To this end in ArcGIS Pro 1.4 Esri have included a new core tab, Imagery. Core tabs are always on and accessible unlike layer specific tabs which only appear when an entry is selected in the Table of Contents.

Imagery

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Planning your move to GDA2020

In my last discussion I introduced the topic of the new GDA2020 datum, the reasons behind it and how Esri intends to implement support for this new geodetic datum. Now that the impending initial release of the first set of parameters is due shortly and with the NTv2 grid due before the end of the year, I thought it important, that as an organisation, it is time consider how do you go about planning the move to this new datum.
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Drones and ArcGIS Webinar

So your organisation has decided it is time to purchase a drone.  Drones are now at a price point where the return on investment is such that an organisation can purchase its own drone, invest in a pilot’s license and have imagery turned around at high resolution for small areas of interest in very short time frames. For many organisations a drone is an ideal supplement for the regular aerial imagery. It provides a mechanism to “see” changes almost as they happen.

At the end of September 2016, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations around drones will be further relaxed. Where essentially, organisations will be able to fly drones under 2kg without the requirement to have an RPA Operators Certificate (ReOC).  See the announcement for more details.

An example of such a drone is Esri partner – 3DR – Solo quadcopter. When teamed with a Sony high resolution camera, it provides an ideal solution for those who need to capture imagery and elevation data that supplements their regular aerial surveys.

Esri recently released Drone2Map for ArcGIS. An application designed to take advantage of this new imagery from any platform and turn around usable information products for the whole organisation within a day of capture. As a minimum requirement, Drone2Map simply needs the imagery to be georegistered for X,Y,Z and it will do the rest for you.
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