Using a combination of both terrestrial and aerial imagery we can 3D model nearly anything, just from photos and a bit of survey know-how. Where laser scanning is restricted to ground based measurement and is subject to shadowing meaning missing data, UAV’s can see structures from all angles, enabling the ability to model all aspects of the entire feature.
Terrain inspection and modelling
We can use aerial data to reconstruct 3D terrain features in the digital world with high accuracy. These models are generally used for assessing risks (i.e rockfalls, cliff failures etc) that may cause a safety hazard, designing structures (i.e retaining walls), inspecting inaccessible areas, or even 3D printing an accurate terrain model for future development. Using a UAV for this is ideal as we are able to scan the entire area of interest from a safe location, leaving no gaps in the data. We have used UAVs in Hawke’s Bay to assess and monitor a major landslide on Clifton Beach, to monitor ongoing rockfalls across a 10km stretch of coastal cliffs, and to inspect and assess the cliff faces of Bluff Hill for potential failures.
Building reconstruction and modelling
A UAV is the perfect tool for 3D modelling of buildings. Utilising both ground based, and aerial photography capture we can combine imagery for a full overview of the building. We don’t just stop at single buildings though; we can model entire city blocks! This data can then be used by architects and engineers for future designs, additions or alterations, by councils and heritage registers for records of current building condition, or by inspectors to assess the condition of the building in high detail without the need for specialist safety equipment. We have used UAVs for roof inspections, single building models (such as the heritage listed church below), and full coordinated 3D models of entire city blocks.