Low cost. Low footprint. High ROI.

In the past, conducting aerial geological surveys has been notoriously expensive and time consuming, however great the final rewards may potentially be. All this has changed with the recent rise to prominence of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones as they are commonly called. Their ability to fly at low altitude at a slow, controlled speed offers many advantages over the piloted vehicles that have traditionally been used.

Whether they are used for geophysical surveys by the mining industry in site investigation tasks such as mine planning, mineral deposit exploration, slope monitoring or aeromagnetic mapping, by the oil and gas industry for pipeline inspection, offshore surveys, geological mapping or methane detection, or for academic or research purposes, drone surveys provide affordable and efficient performance, combined with a low environmental footprint.

Compared to commercial satellite photography or manned aircraft, drones capture much more detailed geophysical data and can also fly beneath clouds, so can be used in overcast weather. Ground surveys conducted on land tend to be limited by geographical obstacles and other terrestrial factors, and hiring a helicopter can be expensive, whereas UAV surveys offer enhanced accuracy and flexibility at around a tenth of the price.

High resolution airborne geophysical surveys

Drones provide a stable, 360° aerial view, so the mapping of geological structures over large areas can be achieved quickly and precisely. Their ability to fly both low and slowly along a predetermined flight path, allows for high-resolution overlapping stereophotogrammetric photos to be taken, which can then be used to generate aerial maps and 3D models of the landscape using geological software. Furthermore, this data can be combined with other seismological and geotechnical surveys for a complete and holistic analysis of the site.

Drone technical specifications

Our hexacopter camera drone is a DJI S900 and is fitted with a Panasonic Lumix GH4 camera which films at 4K resolution and takes 16 megapixel HD aerial photographs.

We understand that you will want to determine the flight path for your aerial survey in advance, but you will also be able to view and direct the aerial shots as they are captured in real time, via our ground-based monitoring screens.

If you require a very large area to be surveyed, you may want to consider the use of a helicopter – an aerial service that we also provide – though we have found that drones provide the most detailed results and highest return on investment in the majority of geophysical prospecting situations.

So, if you would like to discover more about our aerial photography services or if you have any general questions about geophysical surveying, please email us, visit our FAQ page, or call us on 01273 921991.

We are located in Lewes in East Sussex in the UK, but will travel globally to help you achieve professional and accurate site surveys.