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How to Automate Drone Mapping to Create Efficiency and Scalability

To some, the idea of drone flight with imaging equipment to create maps would’ve sounded like science fiction until recently.

Today, more and more mining businesses rely on drone mapping to save time and money when mapping and land surveying.

And with a modern platform like the Skycatch Mining Solution, you can take drone mapping and photogrammetry to the next level with edge processing and 3D modeling of your mining sites.

Why Is Automation in Drone Mapping Important?
While much of the traditional mining processes were based around hazardous, manual tasks, most modern mining organizations have transitioned toward safer, tech-supported, automated processes.

This shift is also helping to aid mining professionals in getting prepared to face new challenges to stay operationally efficient, sustainable, and eco-friendly in the future.

With mining sites expanding well beyond companies' grounds to include thousands of acres of land (sometimes more than 50,000), it would be impossible for mining operations to manually map their operations on foot or by using traditional surveying equipment.

Doing so would require enormous amounts of time and resources which could otherwise be spent elsewhere toward overall efficiency gains—and higher profits.

By automating the mapping process with drone technology, mining companies can:

  • Quickly and repeatedly map mining sites of all sizes
  • Generate accurate maps in near real-time
  • Process data collected by drones to create 3D models of mining sites
  • Monitor mining operations in detail to optimize productivity

The Role of Photogrammetry in Drone Mapping
Drone photogrammetry is an incredibly important part of drone mapping and the automation process used to create 3D geospatial maps.

According to the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) photogrammetry is the process of “obtaining reliable information about physical objects and the environment, through the process of recording, measuring, and interpreting imagery and digital representations of energy patterns derived from non-contact sensor systems.”

It involves creating high-quality maps using visual data captured by drones instead of creating maps using traditional techniques such as surveying or GPS tracking.

Skycatch’s Mining Solution includes proprietary photogrammetry software that allows mining professionals to automatically generate Orthomosaic, digital surface models (DSMs), point clouds, and 3D models from drone data.

What Type of Drone is Best for Mining?
There are many options available when it comes to choosing a drone for your mining operations.

As it relates to the mining industry, there are only two drones we recommend for use in the mining industry, in conjunction with our automated mining solution. They are the DJI Matrice 300 RTK and the DJI Phantom 4 RTK.

We recommend these drones because, when combined with the Skycatch Mining Solution, high accuracy, within sub 5cm, can be attained without ground control points (GCPs).

The DJI Matrice 300 RTK UAV was created specifically for higher-accuracy aerial mapping projects that require absolute precision, like generating highly accurate maps of large mine sites. It has a higher payload capacity which makes it an ideal choice for more complex projects.

The DJI Phantom 4 RTK is also a solid option for smaller, less complex projects where a heavier payload capacity is not required.

Automate Drone Mapping with the Skycatch Mining Solution
Skycatch is redefining what’s possible for commercial drone users. Until now, mapping with drones required a tremendous amount of manual labor and human error.

However, because the Skycatch Mining Solution handles all aspects of flight operations (planning, loading data onto a drone, launching, monitoring flights in real-time), drone operators can focus on surveying instead of flying—dramatically reducing costs while increasing safety and accuracy.

This means faster insights for businesses using drone mapping automation—meaning more opportunities to act quickly on insights learned about properties or building sites.

Using a Matrice 300 RTK or Phantom 4 RKTK drone with Skycatch software, will give you all these things and enable you to create a seamless workflow with minimum user engagement.

Our automated, end-to-end solution empowers you to produce high-resolution mining maps quickly without the need for an additional ground control survey—saving time, money, and resources.

The best part about this software is that it works right out of the box so mining professionals can take advantage of it immediately after receiving the product from Skycatch.

Don’t work harder; work smarter with Skycatch’s complete mining solution.

Contact us today to learn more about our end-to-end mining solution.

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