Site Survey with a Drone: LiDAR vs Photogrammetry

Drones come handy when you need to explore the edifice or perform an inspection of the large area. Through aerial imagery, you can track the results of the construction process, detect deviations from the blueprints, or monitor the changes that have occurred during exploitation. There are many use cases, but all of them have one requirement in common—all works should be done with highly accurate geopositioning.

When it comes to getting a very detailed and accurate 3D model of the site or a building, facility operators and engineers use UAS combined with a camera or LiDAR. What are the differences between these technologies? And how can we enhance a project with a high accuracy level? Check out the new video from the Indiana Drones team to discover it.

Georeference Your Data with Reach Receivers

Besides getting the high-resolution data, you need to georeference your dataset correctly. To achieve it, you should place several ground control points on your worksites before the mission.

That’s where Reach RS2 Survey Kit can save you a lot of effort. All you need is just a set of Reach receivers and checkered square plates. Coordinates of control points are recorded with the ReachView app available for iOS and Android devices. Just put your GCPs on the site, create a new project in the ReachView app, and collect the location. It’s that simple!


Good stuff. The day when LiDAR is cost effective on a drone is coming and allot will change! There is also testing being performed where LiDAR and Photogrammetry reconstructions are being combined. Add ground survey and BIM models to that and you get some pretty amazing virtual sites.


Yes, please. A little sensor fusion go a long way - been wanting to process my photogrammetry datasets against existing LiDAR for some time. Can you share some examples been seeing?

Actually, working in CloudCompare right now merging my drone dataset with existing LiDAR. Now if only the computer can take over instead of my manual interventions…

Let me see what I can find. CloudCompare is a great product, but we use Carlson Precision 3D Topo. I find it to be much more robust and think it works better with other CAD type design softwares. With Carlson you can classify point clouds, break a point cloud into separate point clouds using those classifications or just manual selections and merge point clouds into a new master.

Me I like free :slight_smile: But I get spoiled with Pix4D point cloud editing capability out of the box (classification and manual classification) too. I find the combiation of the two to work well for my needs.

But this is manual workflow. I am looking for capabilities to improve point cloud generation similar to maintaining positioning with IMU when GNSS falls out. Both can correct each other.

GNSS + IMU + Imagery + LiDAR as a sensor fusion solution when mapped simultaneously sounds good to me!

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