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An Introduction to Aerial Mapping & Surveys

SUAs have had a massive impact on the way aerial surveys and mapping are performed. They have proved themselves to be hugely beneficial to these specific workflows with the ability to capture stills with accurately predefined overlap percentages and remain steady at predetermined elevations to ensure data accuracy which would be hugely challenging for a manned aircraft.

There is also the fact that SUAs are an affordable, easily transportable option when undertaking mapping or surveys. This is very important when considering work in challenging environments with tight timescales. Having researched this industry, we've identified the two main approaches used to conduct these tasks:

Aerial Mapping Approach - Photogrammetry

Photogrammetry uses a collection of stitched-together stills to conduct measurements. This approach is best suited for mapping or surveying bare earth regions. When used by an experienced operator, the Photogrammetry method can produce highly accurate 3D models. Low outlays for software and equipment have also gone some way to making it the most common process for surveying.

Aerial Mapping Approach - LiDAR

Unlike Photogrammetry, LiDAR uses lasers and light to carry out measurements which makes it ideal for heavily vegetated areas or sites with numerous obstructions and obscurants. Aircraft mounted with LiDAR systems can map areas quickly, affordably and with few logistical issues. Additionally, SUA LiDAR solutions offer unique perspectives and in-depth image control which aren't possible with traditional capture methods. They offer flexible configurations, allowing them to gather masses of data and imagery that are perfectly suited to mapping and surveys.

Of the two methods, LiDAR arguably achieves the most accurate results. However, there are limitations on obtaining high-resolution images from the acquired data. Photogrammetry and other photo-based approaches are often used in tandem with LiDAR data to reach the most accurate results through their combined data capture.

Platforms & Products


Heliguy is a licensed DroneDeploy supplier which means that we're able to provide you with the software and support you need to get the most out of this powerful solution.

DroneDeploy is an intuitive solution used to create aerial maps and 3D models. Using their mobile app - which is available on both Android and iOS - it's possible to transform a range of DJI drones into reliable and powerful mapping tools.

The DroneDeploy app facilitates automated flights from take-off and right through to landing while automatically capturing images that can be uploaded to their software for processing. These stills can be used to create a range of visualised data from 2D maps to 3D models.


Required Training

If you want to produce accurate 3D models and conduct aerial mapping and surveying that can be used by a range of commercial clients, it's necessary to undergo training on the equipment and software integral to the process.

Heliguy offers Bespoke Training Courses which run you through the various options when it comes to mapping and surveying solutions and also their compatibility with SUA solutions. We will adapt this in-depth training to your company's needs and area of operation ensuring real-world scenario instruction.

Aside from this task-specific training we also provide accredited training on behalf of the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) meaning that we can get a member (or members) of your team qualified to offer aerial services. For more information about our training course, call us on 0191 296 1024 and start your company's journey towards providing unparalleled aerial mapping and surveying. Alternatively, fill in your details below to register your interest with our training team.