Traditional and Aerial Surveying Support

heliguy™ Survey Assist

Equipment Supply, Survey Support and Training.

heliguy™ survey assist

Comprehensive survey support

heliguy™ survey assist offers end-to-end support, facilitating drone mapping and land surveying workflows.

Our product ecosystem includes drones, LiDAR scanners, photogrammetry cameras, GNSS equipment, software packages and industry-specific training.

heliguy™’s in-house surveying professionals are graduates of Newcastle University - the UK's number one GIS institute - and specialise in a range of applications, including terrestrial surveying and civil engineering.

heliguy™ is partnered with industry-leading GIS/surveying companies, including Esri and GeoSLAM, and supports the programmes of major organisations, such as Laing O’Rourke and Komatsu.

Our Partners and Clients

Surveying Product Ecosystem

Solutions for end-to-end workflow support.

DJI Phantom 4 RTK + D-RTK 2 Mobile Station Combo

DJI Phantom 4 RTK + D-RTK 2 Mobile Station Combo

£7,320.00

D-RTK 2 Mobile Station

D-RTK 2 Mobile Station

£2,700.00

Surveying Software

Turn your data into digital assets

Terrasolid UAV L1 Free Bundle

Terrasolid UAV L1 Free Bundle

Free

Terrasolid is the industry standard software for point clouds and image processing, developed specifically for the demanding requirements of geospatial, engineering, operations and environmental professionals.

Pix4Dmapper

Pix4Dmapper

From £280.00£3,120.00Save £2,840.00

Leading photogrammetry software for professional drone mapping. Transform any aerial and ground images into accurate, georeferenced maps and 3D models.

Terrasolid UAV L1 Free Bundle

Terrasolid UAV L1 Free Bundle

Free

Terrasolid is the industry standard software for point clouds and image processing, developed specifically for the demanding requirements of geospatial, engineering, operations and environmental professionals.

GeoSLAM Connect And Draw

GeoSLAM Connect And Draw

Price on Request

Drone mapping software packages which can be used in conjunction with GeoSLAM products, including the ZEB Horizon, to transform 3D data into actionable information.

EZSurv Post-Processing Software

EZSurv Post-Processing Software

From £2,700.00

Powerful companion software providing a reliable and efficient offline correction solution (PPK) to significantly improve the accuracy of survey and GIS mapping data.

Surveying Training

heliguy™ delivers dedicated surveying training, using material prepared by our in-house survey specialists.

Zenmuse L1 Workflow Course

Zenmuse L1 Workflow Course

£399.00

End-to-end workflow course for the DJI Zenmuse L1, including set-up, optimal flight parameters, and processing LiDAR data in DJI Terra and Terrasolid.

The course, created by heliguy™ GIS specialists, is delivered online via voice-over video. A course e-book is also available.

Matrice 300 RTK Handover Training

Matrice 300 RTK Handover Training

£199.00

The heliguy™ M300 RTK Virtual Handover provides dedicated set up, workflow support and best practices to enable operators to confidently deploy the drone and the H20T payload.

The course is delivered online via voice-over video by our in-house training team.

M300 Handover & Zenmuse L1 Workflow Course

M300 Handover & Zenmuse L1 Workflow Course

£499.00£598.00Save £99.00

Virtual handover of the DJI M300 RTK, H20T, and dedicated end-to-end workflow training for the DJI Zenmuse L1, including processing LiDAR data.

This combined option - delivered online - is more cost-effective than taking our M300 RTK and L1 courses separately.

heliguy™ Drone Assistive Programme

heliguy™ Drone Assistive Programme

Price on Request

The Drone Assistive Programme - a hybrid industry-specific training model - delivers on-site mentorship to ensure your pilots can operate safely and competently during complex operations.

Also features task-focused classroom learning, such as mapping/surveying principles.

Meet the Team

Meet the expert heliguy™ survey assist team who will guide you through your operations.

Ben Sangster

Survey / GIS Lead

BSc (Hons) Geographical Information Science

  • Working within the sales, training and technical departments of heliguy™ in order to provide consultancy and develop educational material for our customers.
  • Account manager for AEC clients such as Laing O'Rourke, Boskalis, Balfour Beatty and Komatsu, providing aerial surveying consultancy, hardware supply, and workflow support.
  • Experienced with ESRI’s AcGIS & SiteScan, Pix4D, DJI Terra, Terra Solid and CAD.
  • Guest speaker at Digital Construction Week in London, representing heliguy™ and Esri UK.
  • Technical lead on aerial surveying, ESRI Site Scan and Zenmuse L1 training courses.
  • Ben is a qualified surveyor. Prior to joining Heliguy, he collaborated on the Environmental Protection Agencies annual coastal monitoring project, among other terrestrial surveying duties.
  • Graduated from Newcastle University with a 2:1 in Geographic Information Science.

Richard Dunlop

Survey / GIS Specialist

BSc (Hons) Surveying and Mapping Science

  • Account holder for clients such as Brimstone UXO, who use LiDAR for bomb detection, as well as Scotia Survey and Safety Ltd, and Ground Developments Ltd.
  • In-the-field experience of helping clients conduct drone mapping missions, including a major coastal erosion survey using the DJI M300 RTK and L1 LiDAR payload at Pagham Harbour.
  • Developed online training course to enable clients to maximise aerial surveying techniques.
  • Adept at data processing through software such as ArcGIS Pro, DJI Terra, TerraSolid, N4ce, Site Scan, Leica Infinity, and QGIS.
  • Guest speaker at Digital Construction Week in London, representing heliguy™ and Esri UK.
  • Prior to joining heliguy™, he worked at the Severn Partnership, conducting surveying projects at London's Charing Cross Station, Liverpool Central Station, and RAF Lossiemouth.
  • Graduated from Newcastle University with a 2:1 in Surveying and Mapping Science, with a year in Industry.

Joe Livings

Engineering / survey executive

MEng (Hons) Civil Engineering

  • With a background in civil engineering, Joe has vast experience of the construction process and helps heliguy™ clients utilise drones to bolster project accuracy, efficiency and profitability across the AEC sector.
  • Knowledgeable in thermography, construction and confined-space inspection, including sewer networks, drainage design and transport.
  • Former civil engineer at global building services consultancy, Cundall.
  • Worked on a range of national and local projects, designing large-scale schemes ranging from arenas to data centres.
  • A Zero Carbon advocate, helping companies achieve net zero by 2030, including through the adoption of drones.
  • Graduated from Newcastle University with a 2:1 in civil engineering, specialising in Environmental Engineering.

Drones for surveying

Enhance efficiency, save money, and improve safety.

Talk to heliguy™ survey assist.

Drones can be introduced as part of a surveying workflow, complementing traditional surveying methods.

Drones help to collect accurate data quickly and safely, which can improve decision-making and provide vital insights.

Drone surveys can benefit many applications in different industries, such as construction, mining and aggregates, agriculture, urban planning and land management, public safety, and environmental research.

#1 Flight

Fly your drone over your survey site. Some missions can be pre-planned.

#2 Data

Depending on your drone and payload, survey data includes imagery, LiDAR and geospatial information.

#3 Analysis

Process your data and build detailed maps and models. This enables you to estimate and predict, interpret and understand, and much more, lending new perspectives and contextual understanding to your insights and decision-making.

#4 Collaborate

Digital data is highly shareable. Improve collaboration and insights by sharing data with staff, stakeholders and the community. It can be viewed on mobile phones, tablets, in web browsers, and on desktops.

"Drones enable firms to create highly-accurate maps and point clouds, discover costly job-site mistakes, and predict schedule delays, saving up to tens of thousands of pounds per week."

Richard Clement

Komatsu

Drone Surveying Deliverables

3D models, maps and data exports.

Drone surveying produces a range of deliverables. These highly-accurate digital assets can be used to identify problems, monitor change, manage and respond to events, perform forecasting, set priorities, and understand trends.

2D Map

Detailed 2D orthomosaic maps can be utilised across a range of industries, including construction and infrastructure.

These maps - containing a vast collection of high-resolution imagery - provide an accurate and up-to-date real-world view, helping rapid decision-making and analysis.

Use them to spot mistakes, monitor progress, use as a CAD overlay, and conduct urban or public safety planning.

3D Models

Interactive, georeferenced 3D models provide valuable insights. They can be used to conduct calculations and for remote inspections.

These digitised models can be used for CAD and BIM-related purposes, something which is at the forefront of modern construction.

Volumetric Survey

Drones can be used to create volumetric models, useful for stockpile measurements, for instance.

Traditional stockpile measurements when using GPS or Total Stations are inhibited by the limited sample data which can be collected. Instead of using a spot grid with a point every 5 metres, a drone can collect a point with a ground sample distance of 1cm creating a much better sampled and more accurate data set.

LiDAR Map

Equip your drone with a LiDAR camera to produce a high-density point cloud. LiDAR is particularly effective for mapping densely-vegetated areas, collecting data in low-light environments and helping to detect small features, such as wires and cabling.

A LiDAR map is useful for industries such as forestry, agriculture/landscaping and public safety.

Digital Surface Models

Use 3D data to produce a Digital Elevation Model, Digital Surface Model, or Digital Terrain Model (DTM), to give a visual representation of the surface of the earth and its features.

These assets are useful for areas such as infrastructural management, hydrology managing coastal erosion, archaeology, flow-direction studies, land-use and city planning, and following landslides.

Visual Surveys

Drones can be used for producing visual surveys. A visual drone survey and drone inspection can be carried out to check powerlines or conduct roof inspections.

Using a drone to do this is more efficient, cheaper and safer than traditional methods, removing the requirement for staff to erect scaffolding and work at height.

Thermal Surveys

A drone with a thermal camera can quickly identify targets with abnormal heat signatures.

Thermal surveys can help to identify heat loss, in order to improve energy efficiency; can identify water leaks or moisture ingress; or faults with wiring and other electrical components.

Agricultural Surveys

A multispectral drone survey can provide farmers with a wealth of insights.

These help them to increase crop production, monitor and inspect crop growth, build a richer picture of their fields, improve farming efficiency, and maximise outputs.

Surveying Case Studies

How drone surveying is benefiting real-world applications.

Surveying Workflows

Maximising your drone survey data

Our workflow guides will help you collect quality drone survey data and maximise its outputs at the post-processing stage for increased ROI and enhanced decision-making.

What is the difference between LiDAR and photogrammetry?

Generally speaking, LiDAR is better in areas of high vegetation and during low-light environments, while drone photogrammetry is better for creating highly-visual digital assets.

LiDAR works by sending pulses of light to the earth's surface or a feature on it and measuring the time it takes to reflect back.

Photogrammetry is the art of capturing high-resolution photographs to recreate a survey area.

For more information, read our LiDAR vs photogrammetry comparison.

Read the blog

What are point clouds and how do I use them?

A point cloud is the representation of a geographical area, terrain, building or feature which is compiled through a huge collection of points and plotted in 3D space.

Each point has its own set of Cartesian coordinates (X, Y, Z) and each virtual georeferenced point represents its real-world equivalent, such as a section of wall, ground or road etc.

Point clouds can be used to measure an object's depth, elevation, shape and exact geolocation.

They can also contain colour values, such as RGB and intensity.

For more information, read our guide to point clouds.

Read the blog

What is ground sample distance?

Ground Sample Distance (GSD) is the distance between the centre of two adjacent pixels measured on the ground. It is a measure of accuracy in aerial mapping and remote sensing operations.

Learn how to calculate GSD and find out more about why GSD is important for drone surveying on the blog.

What are ground control points?

Ground control points – or GCPs as they are known – are marked points on the ground that have a known geographic location.

For aerial survey applications, GCPs are typically required as they can enhance the positioning and accuracy of the mapping outputs.

This method can be laborious – as it requires laying out and precisely geolocating numerous control points - and can take a large amount of preparation.

Using RTK and PPK correctional technologies can minimise or even eliminate the need for GCPs. Drones such as the DJI Phantom 4 RTK and M300 RTK benefit from this technology.

PPK Vs RTK: What is the difference?

RTK is a GPS correction-technology technique that provides real-time corrections to location data when the survey drone is capturing photos of a site. Real-time correction is a major industry advantage.

PPK is another GPS correction-technology technique that works to correct location data, except in the cloud after the drone data has been captured and uploaded.

In other words, this means that in terms of positional correcting, RTK does this during the flight, while PPK makes the changes afterwards.

RTK has many benefits, such as the pinpoint accuracy of the aircraft during flight, and accurate geotagging of the information the aircraft captures.

However, RTK requires a very specific base station and other pieces of equipment that work together in order to process data in real-time. Signals can also be obstructed which results in loss of correction data. This is not an issue with PPK.

PPK also removes the requirement for GCPs saving you further time in the field.

When it comes to drone surveying, is it best to use RTK and some ground control points?

Yes. Possibly the best combination is deploying a drone with RTK and a small number of strategically-positioned ground control points.

Having flown the DJI Phantom 4 RTK, Terra Drone Europe believes that in some cases the accuracy that can be achieved without any GCPs is less than 3-4cm, but when in need of greater accuracy, it is advisable to use a number of ground control points - but it is still a reduction compared to traditional surveying methods.

The breakdown below provides an overview of surveying with and without RTK and how GCPs can help.

GCPs Alone

High Accuracy
High Speed
Low Cost

Drone Without RTK

Low Accuracy
High Speed
Low Cost

Drone With RTK

High Accuracy
High Speed
Low Cost

RTK + GCPs

Highest Accuracy
Medium to High Speed
Low Cost

What’s the difference between DEMs, DTMs and DSMs?

Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) are a visual representation of the elevation data for every point captured on your site.

Instead of depicting how your site actually appears in person, DEMs generally use colour to indicate differences in elevation.

DEMs are a superset of both Digital Terrain Models (DTM) and Digital Surface Models (DSM).

So what is the difference between a DTM and DSM?

DTM: A bare-earth surface model. In other words, featuring purely the terrain and ground.

DSM: The most general form of surface model that includes all acquired points, representing natural and man-made features. A DSM includes the tops of buildings, trees, powerlines and other objects. In essence, it is a canopy model, and only sees the ground when nothing else is above it.

For more information, read our DEMs vs DTMs vs DSMs comparison guide.

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What are digital twins?

Digital twins are digital representations of a physical asset.

Like the real world they represent, digital twins are ever-changing; continuously adjusting to reflect the near real-time status or condition of the real-world asset.

As a synchronised and dynamic dataset, digital twins can be used to gain valuable insights and more fully understand the physical asset.

These continuous updates are fed from a rich tapestry of technology, including sensors, drones, reality capture, GIS and BIM integration, real-time Internet of Things, cloud computing, advanced AI and machine learning.

Digital twins provide a single view that can be accessed throughout the entire lifecycle of a project and can be used to represent current, past, or even future states of assets.

For more information, read our guide to digital twins.

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What is SLAM surveying and why should I use it?

SLAM stands for Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping. It is an innovative method of on-the-go mapping, building a map and providing locational data simultaneously.

Other benefits of SLAM include: It does not require GPS; it is mobile; it is versatile - use it underground, inside, outside and from the sky.

SLAM can be used for a range of applications, such as AEC, real estate, conservation, and public safety.

Read our guide to SLAM surveying for more information.

Read the blog

heliguy™ Survey Assist FAQs

Answers to your most frequently asked questions.
FAQs
What’s the difference between fixed-wing drones and quadcopters for surveying?

Fixed-wing drones are traditionally better for large-area surveying because of longer flight times, although advancements in multirotor technology, like the release of the DJI M300 RTK, has closed the gap slightly.

In comparison, multirotors tend to be more cost-effective, smaller and easier to transport and manoeuvre during flight. Most surveying multirotors are particularly effective for low-altitude, small area surveying, although the DJI M300 RTK does provide an option for surveying larger swathes of land in one flight.

Depending on the model, fixed-wing and multirotors can have swappable payload capabilities and both can utilise high-resolution mapping cameras.

For an in-depth comparison, read our multirotor vs fixed-wing drones for surveying guide.

FAQs
What is the difference between traditional surveying and drone surveying?

Drone surveying has multiple advantages over traditional surveying, including speed, safety, streamlined project management and automated/repeatable data collection.

However, drones don’t have to take away from traditional methods: Rather than can be used to complement existing workflows. As such, drones will not replace surveyors.

For more details, read our traditional surveying vs drone surveying blog.

FAQs
Why should I use a drone for surveying?

There are a number of reasons why drones are advantageous for surveying, including safe, efficient and accurate data collection.

This data can be processed in sophisticated software to create detailed maps and models which can then be used to drive decision-making, spot mistakes, maximise return on investment, keep projects on track and collaborate with staff, stakeholders and the community.

For more information, read our in-depth guide to drone mapping.

FAQs
How accurate is a drone survey?

Surveying drone solutions can produce different degrees of accuracy, depending on the requirements of the project.

In an independent study by DroneDeploy, the DJI Phantom 4 RTK achieved 2cm relative vertical accuracy and 1.20cm relative horizontal accuracy.

An accuracy report with Heliguy client Terra Drone Europe also showed that the DJI Phantom 4 RTK can achieve 3cm-4cm accuracies without needing to lay any ground control points.

For some applications, like checking crop growth, or construction progress, high relative accuracy is sufficient. For other jobs that also require high absolute accuracy, there are drones equipped with Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) and Post-Processed Kinematic (PPK) capabilities. When paired with a few Ground Control Points, survey-level accuracy can be achieved.

FAQs
Do I need to be a qualified surveyor to operate a survey-grade drone?

No. Both qualified and unqualified surveyors can operate a drone for surveying purposes.

A survey-grade drone operates very similarly to a standard drone, however producing more accurate results which can be used to derive spatial information.

FAQs
What are the laws around using drones for surveying?

Drone surveyors need to abide by UK drone laws. The rules and regulations will depend on the type of drone you are using and where you are planning to use it.

Depending on your requirements, you may require drone training, such as the A2 CofC or GVC.

Read our guide to obtaining a surveying drone licence to understand what training is required and what rules you need to follow.