Aerial Mapping Steep Terrain and Dense Vegetation

Our Client

This project took us to a rural site just outside Newcastle where our client is building a residential property. The Client Engaged Aivia Group to provide geospatial data and deliverables that will assist them in the development activities of their project, from land use planning, architectural design and visualisation and construction project management.

The Challenge

The project involved mapping a location one the side of a mountain with steep terrain, which requires specialised workflows to map with a drone at low altitudes. The site also contained dense vegetation ranging from bushes to tall eucalyptus trees which presented its own unique challenges with regard to aerial mapping with photogrammetry. The condition of the site could not be determined in great detail prior to deployment due to the lack of up to date aerial or ground imagery. While an extensive plan was created prior to onsite work, a lot of decisions had to be made onsite to ensure the best data was captured to cover all sites of interest and achieve all project goals.

Our Solution

Aerial lidar would have been a good option to capture data for this site however taking into consideration the budget limitation for this client and the scope of what they were trying to achieve, photogrammetry was chosen as the methodology with the client being warned of the positive and negative implications of this choice. We have written a more detailed article discussing the differences between photogrammetry and lidar methodologies if you want to know more. Aivia Group used our expertise and equipment to capture high-quality aerial and terrestrial imagery and video . We then processed this raw data into various geospatial products, ultimately successfully achieving the quality of data desired and the rest of the projects desired outcomes. If you would like more information about what each of these digital deliverables entail then read our visual guide to geospatial and related data. The deliverables included:

  • Aerial Imagery
  • Aerial Video
  • Aerial Panoramas
  • Terrestrial Imagery
  • Terrestrial Video
  • Terrestrial Panoramas
  • Video Editing
  • Ground Control and Checkpoints
  • Orthoimagery
  • Point Cloud
  • Reality Mesh
  • Digital Surface Model (Raster and Vector)
  • Digital Terrain Model (Raster and Vector)
  • Contour Model

These products provided the client with a comprehensive and true to life representation of the site and its surroundings, which can be used for various purposes, such as:

  • Assessing the site conditions and suitability for the project: The client can use the geospatial data to evaluate site topography
  • Designing the layout and features of the building: The client can use the geospatial data to create realistic 3D models and visualisations of the project, and test different design scenarios and alternatives. The client can also use the geospatial data to optimise the orientation, placement, and size of the buildings and facilities, and ensure they comply with the zoning and environmental regulations.
  • Planning and monitoring the construction activities and progress: The client can use the geospatial data to plan and coordinate the construction tasks and resources, and monitor the quality and safety of the work. The client can also use the geospatial data to compare the actual and expected outcomes, and identify any issues or deviations that need to be addressed.
  • Communicating and collaborating with stakeholders and contractors: The client can use the geospatial data to share and exchange information with the stakeholders and contractors involved in the project, such as architects, engineers, builders, suppliers, regulators, etc.

Outcome and Impact

By using drones for aerial mapping and reality modelling, Aivia Group was able to offer the client several benefits, such as:

  • Saving time and money by reducing the need for ground survey work to be completed upfront: Aivia Group was able to capture and process large amounts of geospatial data in a short time span, using fewer resources and personnel than traditional methods and allowing other project activities to begin earlier with more detailed data. This resulted in lower costs and faster delivery times for the client. While licensed survey work may be needed in the future for boundary re-establishment or related work, the scope of such work can be more focused and no longer a dependency for many activities related to design and planning.
  • Increasing safety by avoiding hazardous areas and minimizing human exposure: Aivia Group was able to map areas that were difficult or dangerous to access by ground, such as steep slopes, cliffs, rivers, etc. This reduced the risk of accidents and injuries for the staff and contractors.
  • Improving flexibility and quality of project management. The level of detail of site data that was captured has enabled for more project management activities to be completed remotely from the project managers office in Melbourne. This has significantly reduce onsite travel time and costs.

Assortment of Project Images

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