We provide aerial mapping services for high-resolution digital maps of properties from less than one acre to hundreds of acres. We program our aerial drones to take overhead pictures at precise positions where their GPS-based location is embedded into each picture. Our mapping service can take hundreds of pictures – even thousands – and generate 2-dimensional maps, 3-dimensional maps, elevation maps, and point clouds. Our typical resolution is 2 to 3 cm per pixel, which is plenty good for zooming in on small objects. For example, a feature 2-feet wide will have an image width of 20-30 pixels.
We’re very good at photographing and delivering precision map products. As described below, several of these deliverables require specialized software to take full advantage of 3-D mapping. (We will point you to several viewers, available on the Internet.) Our cartography services will meet most basic needs, but are not certified by a professional land surveyor.
High-Resolution Orthomosaic Photogrammetry Maps
Our more advanced mapping products, known as Orthomosaic Photogrammetry Maps, are geared toward land developers who have the high-powered software that processes these products. These digital maps, when used with specialized software, display position and elevation information for every pixel. We can also deliver topographical maps with contours at whatever interval you may require. We can also deliver 3D models and point clouds.
For example, this orthomosaic map was developed from 56 images covering 8 acres. Its associated digital elevation model (below) represents elevation with colors from blue to red (just about any color scheme is available). Its associated 3D Model can be manipulated on screen to any viewing angle – you can rotate and tilt the model. Its associated 3D Point Cloud is next to it. Point clouds are particularly exciting because the 3D model can be manipulated so you can see (to a certain extent) under the trees!
We take our orthomosaic photogrammetry maps to the next level with post-processing techniques that manipulate map data to get topographical (elevation contour) maps and overlay these contours onto their associated 2D photomaps. An example appears on our portfolio page.
Map elevations are dependent on the drone’s altimeter, which is based on its internal barometer. Air pressure is read and converted to altitude, but temperature also affects the barometer’s reading. (Please read our February 2022 blog Altimeter Error’s Effect on 3D Mapping) Our Mavic 2 Pro averages up to 7 feet of elevation error over the duration of a 20-minute flight. Considering the standard deviation and margin of error, we can expect up to an additional 6 feet of error over a flight. Our mapping service takes altimeter readings from the photo tags and cannot compensate for these errors. This means your map’s accuracy is set by the drone’s altimeter, which peaks out at around +/-6.5 feet.
While this elevation specification may be adequate for a topographical map with 25-feet contours, contours of 10 feet or less approach the drone’s altitude error spec. (We use 7 feet.)
In addition to orthomosaic photogrammetry maps, we also provide overhead photographic maps (photomaps), similar to popular Earth maps but at a much greater resolution. We use a similar aerial drone photo collection technique to take the overhead pictures, then use our panorama software to stitch together the images into a composite 2-dimensional map. This service is less expensive, and it doesn’t come with position and elevation information. However, this type of map is ideal for landowners and real estate agents who don’t need photogrammetry mapping. For example, the 40-acre cornfield below is a composite of 326 images and was reduced from a full-size map image of 276 megapixels. Features like small animals (if present) will show up quite well on maps like this.
Forested areas, such as shrubs and trees, don’t resolve very well. We’ll review your map project and advise if your proposed site is at risk for not turning out (no charge). We guarantee usable map products, but respectfully decline jobs that consist primarily of forested areas. Please read our blog on 3D Mapping Limitations.
Please contact us for your project estimate.