Drone LiDAR mapping service in North Florida (Jacksonville) area?

Is there a good website for finding people who can perform certain services utilizing drones to field measure? (i.e. upwork, etc).

We normally just climb the legged water towers to field measure, but in this case it might be easier just to use a drone equipped with LiDAR to quickly fly up and measure a certain portion of the and/or profile of the water tower’s “reservoir” (curved domed roof & cylindrical shell wall is all we need, nothing immense).

The basic deliverable shouldn’t be something expensive to provide, otherwise we’ll just manually measure it if so. (or just start looking into assembling our own setup here on out). Not looking for elaborate details. Basically the resulting diameter of the reservoir and the shape of the curved domed roof so we can just pull the curve profile from it is all. Simple.


If I understand your use-case correctly I would get a Skydio 2 and talk to them about their new 3D scan mode.


Lidar data usually requires post-processing to make sense.
And such, why not just use photogrammetry on a PPK drone?


That looks awesome. Thanks @michaelL You and a couple other guys always come through. ; )

Has anyone run across any websites that are like upwork.com etc to find drone services? Gotta be something out there for that… for drone owners to make $$$.

Yeah, we’ve considered that also… but just need someone in the area ready to go to shoot it quick. Otherwise, I think we’ll look into this more.

Or just mount a iPhone 12 and it’s built in LiDAR to the drone and keep it 10-15’ away. :::CRASH:::::

: )~

I am not familiar with the details of all of this, but thinking the subject that needs scanned is probably along the lines of being too homogenous for photogrammetry. Water towers are typically just big metal compound curved objects mostly white all around.

I am surprised there isn’t a website all the drone people go to, to get work… besides running their own business of course. Might be a good idea to create one if not. I see upwork.com has a drone section… but couldn’t find anyone locally… too cost restrictive to travel to us for minimal work needed… not making a movie, mapping a large project or anything.

I think we may look into the Skydio @michaelL mentioned for quick dirty scanning at reasonable cost… just not sure how well photogrammetry will work with our needs though. I don’t want that rough 3d mapping you see in Google Earth. ; )

Yeah, featureless is always a pain for photogrammetry.

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Do a little photo processing and get some tie-points to show up. You’d be surprised what comes out of shadows and blowout.

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True that!
And also underexposing during capture helps, together with software getting better and better at textureless and also pattern-strong surfaces.


We always run -0.5ev because it is allot easier to get data from shadows than blowout and it keeps the shadows from getting noisy. Plus the colors just pop like a fully overcast day. I have 3 batch filters built in ACDSee. One default that is used 75% of the time, one that is a little brighter and a 3rd just for the Yuneec E90X camera to hit the saturation because it is so flat. I have run map comparisons and get about 5% more tie-points with editing.


Most of the states on the east coast has lidar data available from NOAA. Most of the data available is provided by state agencies. In SC, all of the lidar data was flown in 2008. We always carry NAVD88 elevations on our projects and most of the surface data that hasn’t been disturbed usually checks less than 0.5’. In fact, depending on the civil engineers, they have used this data for site design or preliminary design. We also provide the data too for preliminary design. I believe SC will update the aerial imagery and lidar sometime in this year. I believe most projects are funded via the federal mafia agencies. Great resource for land surveyors and civil engineers that is free. Also some of the state agencies provide this data as our SC Department of Natural Resources do.


Thanks @EBE111057!

I’ll have to check this out on a PC.

Is this actual LiDAR point cloud scan data that can be loaded in point cloud viewers? Wonder if it has buildings etc too?

Again, I’ll have to look at this on a PC soon here to explore… thanks… never knew about this.

Found an Android Point Cloud Viewer app:

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When downloading in the data options, I always select the projection of course but in the surface options I select *ground" and for returns select “last” and then I import in Global Mapper. Pretty cool software that I’ve used for about 20 years. The base software module is about $900 and the lidar module is about $900. I think you can download all the cloud data from the NOAA site, but we’re just concerned with the ground data. Global Mapper has the ability to look at all the cloud data and separate all the data, i.e buildings, vegetation etc. I’ve just never tried it for those layers. I’ve downloaded our whole county and my workstation eat it up. It took about 2 minutes to import all the data and there was no lagging. Try the data out, it’s pretty cool. Using the ground data, you can see old road beds and old home sites and stuff. Fascinating stuff !!
I’ve also seen old ferry crossings at some of the rivers here in the county that were used back in the 1800’s from old maps we have using the data.

Depending on the area size, the data downloaded can be huge, so be careful about that. I think the whole county data was about 6gb or more.


One day, I’m hopeful we will get into lidar mapping. The cost is kinda prohibited right now. Maybe we’ll get a large project this year to pay for it. It would certainly help to have the lastest data if flown


The Matrice 300 RTK and L1 payload are definitely getting us allot closer!

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