Geospatial projects don’t get more intense than Survey Group’s eBee RTK drone survey of the Talawana Track road where, aside from the project’s enormous scale and complex logistics, dusty terrain and the threat of bird attacks also had to be overcome. ( .) Read/download the full project story
The Talawana Track corridor that Survey Group surveyed for Reward Minerals, measuring 250 km x 400 m. As part of a feasibility study into the possible exploitation of potash on Lake Dissapointment, Reward Minerals was looking to survey this potential access road, demanding a positional accuracy of +/- 10 cm.
Lake Disappointment is an endorheic salt lake located in the Little Sandy Desert, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Survey Group’s team of five staff carried all the supplies they required for three full weeks of living and working in the outback.
Two eBee RTK flights in progress. The survey corridor was divided into 2 km sections, with a ground control point (GCP) recorded at the centre of each and one mapping flight then flown at either side of this point (shown above in eMotion).
Why senseFly drones? “Ease of transport, limited set-up times, all the software, ease of landing and launching, with parts very easy to replace and RTK positioning meaning less time spent setting GCPs”, says Survey Group’s Ben Simpson.
One of the project’s four base camps, where part of the project’s data processing took place.
The team used an RTK GPS base station to record a GCP at the centre of each 2 km survey section and to locate the existing road in order to compare vertical heights to the processed eBee heights, for quality control.
One of the team’s customised eBee RTK systems. The drones were given ‘eyes’, positioned inside bright circle stickers to prevent attacks by wedge-tailed eagles.
A single RGB drone image of one of the project’s four base camps.
50% of the project’s data processing was carried out on-site, using the two PCs on the left, running the drones’ supplied Postflight Terra 3D software.
A section of 5 cm/pixel orthomosaic from the final few kilometres of the mapped corridor (checkpoints noted in black).
An example of the contoured topographic data that Survey Group delivered.
Team member Drew Waters takes his first bath in weeks at the aptly named Lake Disappointment.
According to Survey Group’s managing director, Ben Simpson, the return on its drone investments to date has been highly positive: “We have invested approximately $160,000 over the last two years and generated $300,000 in fees,” he reports.
Watch the project’s point cloud video:
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