There are many companies out there that advertise their drone technologies for surveying uses in building construction. This has become a useful tool to many civil engineers, and its usefulness is growing still. When a drone is used for these purposes, it uses its GPS data and camera data to develop an elevation point cloud for a specific site. The first problem you might foresee is tolerances on survey data. This has traditionally been a problem for most low cost surveying solutions – but drones have now launched beyond this limitation.

A typical drone survey with the use of a GoPro camera on a gimbal and GPS positioning can achieve point cloud accuracy within 3 centimeters. This level of accuracy is done all without ground control points as well. While point clouds for survey data is a form of 3D model, it’s not specifically the type of 3D model we’re focusing on. Say, for example, you wanted to generate a 3D model of a sculpture so you could create scale models through additive manufacturing. If the sculpture was small enough, you could use a 3D scanner or even your smartphone if fidelity isn’t an issue. If the sculpture was something like 50 feet tall, a handheld 3D scanner isn’t going to work well. This is where your common everyday drone comes into play. Read More