Drone technology has traditionally been viewed as a recreational hobby, a tool mainly used for aerial videos and photos. Now, with huge advances in UAV hardware and software, professional industries around the world are quickly adopting drone technology to help optimize operations including mapping, surveying and inspections. With the ability to cover large areas of space in a short amount of time, keep workers safe from dangerous or hard to reach environments, and acquire highly accurate data at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods, drone technology has quickly proven itself to be a cost-effective and efficient way to optimize and transform the way professionals conduct mapping and surveying missions.
As drone tech has advanced, the systems have become safer, more affordable, and more accessible than ever before. In the last few years DJI, the largest drone manufacturer in the world, has begun to increasingly focus on expanding their line up of Enterprise drone systems to fit the exact needs of any user and price point. With a drone in the air, operators can easily plan and conduct surveys, collect detailed data for 3D models and maps, and capture quality aerial imagery to ultimately help users garner insights that were previously unavailable or too expensive to obtain.
For those looking to get started in the drone mapping and surveying sector, the Mavic 2 Pro is an affordable option with a camera that is high enough quality to produce professional 3D models and maps. The Mavic 2 Pro is DJI's bestselling prosumer drone and comes with all of DJI's latest advanced technologies. The drone features a 4K-20-megapixel camera with a 1-inch sensor. Though the camera only features a rolling shutter, the large sensor will produce excellent results for mapping and surveying applications. The drone also features an 8 km range, up to 31 minutes of flight time, and an omni-directional obstacle avoidance system for ultra-safe flights.
Released in October 2018, the DJI Phantom 4 RTK is the perfect, easy-to-use, all-in-one solution for professional mapping and surveying applications. The Phantom 4 RTK is capable of capturing centimeter-level RTK data and features a 4K 20-megapixel camera with a 1-inch sensor. The camera also features a mechanical shutter to ensure that there is no distortion in the data collected. The systems RTK module is integrated directly into the aircraft so that pilots receive accurate-real-time data. Below the RTK receiver is also a redundant GNSS module, installed to help maintain flight stability in environments with poor quality signals. The Phantom 4 RTK kit also comes with its own Ground Station Base, and features up to 30 minutes of flight time, and up to 7 km of range.
The Matrice 200 V2 series, a series specifically designed for Enterprise use, features three different versions; the Matrice 200, the Matrice 210, and the Matrice 210 RTK. The Matrice 210 RTK features a powerful RTK system and a D-RTK 2 Mobile Station for extremely accurate and precise centimetre-level data, making it the perfect system for advanced aerial mapping and surveying operations. The Matrice 210 RTK is the premium model of the Matrice series and features a dual gimbal configuration on top of centimetre-level RTK functionality.
The series is also compatible with many different sensors including visual, thermal, and multi-spectral. For visual mapping, users can choose between the Zenmuse X5S or the Zenmuse X7. The Zenmuse X5S is a micro-four-thirds camera with interchangeable lens options, capable of shooting 5.2k and 20-megapixel stills with a rolling shutter. The Zenmuse X7 is a higher-end camera option that is capable of shooting 6k, 24-megapixel stills with a mechanical shutter to eliminate any potential distortion in the images collected. On top of its advanced capabilities and functionality, the Matrice 210 RTK features an onboard FPV camera, up to 8 km of range, and maximum flight time of 38 minutes.
DJI Ground Station Pro
Whether you are about to conduct your flight mission or looking to process your data, creating maps with drone technology has never been easier. DJI themselves have already begun to develop more software options for their Enterprise users.
DJI Ground Station Pro is a free app by DJI that enables pilots to plan, customize, and carry out their drone mapping and surveying missions. The app is designed to be as user-friendly as possible and work seamlessly with DJI Drones systems. Within the app, users can create, customize, and save mapping missions and enable their drone to carry out a mapping flight with the simple tap of a button.
DJI has also recently announced their newest software endeavor named DJI Terra, a subscription-based, user-friendly mapping software made to help professionals optimize their data into digital assets. With DJI Terra, users can conduct plan missions, acquire data, map areas, and analyze their data all via one streamlined DJI software. DJI Terra also offers different mission planning modes including Waypoints, Area, and Oblique, and can create both 2D, 3D models and more.
Professionals in the mapping and surveying sector also use other highly popular drone mapping and surveying programs named Pix4D and Drone Deploy. Both programs are subscription based and provide users with a one-stop shop for executing flight missions, creating models and maps, and analyzing the data collected. In general, Drone Deploy is a more user-friendly software, whereas Pix4D enables more experienced users to customize and build their maps as they see fit.
For years professionals have had to rely on airplanes, helicopters, or teams on the ground to conduct professional-grade maps and models. With drone technology, users have a cost-effective and time-efficient alternative to better help with the planning, monitoring, and decision-making in various Enterprise sectors. As technology advances, drones will surely become even more affordable, accessible and safe, and integrated even more into the daily operations of businesses all around the world.