The rapid advancement of drone technology (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)) is revolutionising how we survey and monitor our environment. The visual and geospatial data acquired by drone surveys are proving to be highly beneficial when combined with traditional surveying methods. Some key advantages of Drone Surveying are detailed below:
- Accurate High Resolution Mapping Products: Drones can capture high-resolution aerial images and data to produce 3D topographic models (topography maps). Combined with GNSS GPS equipment, drone surveys can produce accurate maps and visualisations, enabling objective and quantitative analysis of sites and landscapes.
- Temporal Flexibility: Drones provide real-time data and temporal flexibility when surveying, allowing for immediate analysis and decision-making, essential for dynamic environmental conditions and evolving baseline context.
- Versatility – When equipped with various sensors and cameras, drones can be used for multiple surveying purposes and environmental and ecological applications. e.g. Thermal Camera for the identification of mammals and birds.
- Accessibility – Drones can navigate difficult terrain and access remote or hazardous locations.
MKO has recently used drone technology to successfully enhance the quality of our services across multiple business areas, including environmental and ecological monitoring, Landscape Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) and planning. Some recent examples are listed below:
- River Geomorphology: Successional monthly surveys enabled a detailed time-series analysis of a river susceptible to flooding. The high-resolution imagery and accurate elevation models have provided valuable insights into the natural geomorphology of the river as well as the potential effects on local ecology. The detailed imagery and data can be used to inform river restoration and enhancement projects.
- Habitat Mapping: Our drone was successfully deployed to map an inaccessible development site. The mapping products identified key ecological features and potential constraints at an early stage of the project.
- Cultural Heritage LVIA: The bird’s eye view and 3D Photogrammetry Model acquired from the drone survey was a useful visual aid for the impact assessment of a proposed development on the setting of a cultural heritage monument in County Galway, providing clarity and understanding for the planning authority in their decision making.
- Planning Compliance: Our drone and Trimble GNSS GPS device were recently used to accurately capture geospatial data of the infrastructure and layout of an existing wind farm development. This enabled a quantitative and objective analysis of the built infrastructure layout and alignment with the planning permission requirements.
Our Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) certified drone pilots are scaling up and expanding our surveying capacity with this innovative technology.