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Create Survey-Grade Maps in Minutes with Self-Serve Ground Control Points

Quickly tag ground control points and process maps with DroneDeploy

Wed Sep 06 2017 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Many common uses of drone maps such as crop scouting and site documentation don’t require survey-grade accuracy. But accuracy is vital to professionals in the construction, surveying, and aggregates industries.

Project managers must compare site maps over time to detect changes, and architects visualize design plans in building information modeling (BIM) software on top of a drone-generated 3D model of actual site conditions. To effectively compare maps and 3D models to each other, they have to be precise — the data needs to line up perfectly.

Because we are analyzing quantifiable work related to dollars, we need highly accurate maps

Michael Lambert, Virtual Design and Construction Manager, Chasco Constructors

Processing a drone map with GCPs — ground truth data — solves this problem. GCPs are large visible targets spaced throughout the mapped area with precise known locations typically measured with highly-accurate ground-based GPS equipment. The GCPs and their coordinates are then used to help drone mapping software accurately position your map in relation to the real world around it.

GCPs are typically measured with highly-accurate ground-based GPS equipment. Photo courtesy of Trimble.

A New Way to Achieve Survey-Grade Accuracy

Including GCPs has long been the most complex and time consuming part of processing accurate drone maps. Users would either need to overcome the steep learning curve of traditional GCP processing or pay high per-map fees for manual processing solutions.

Now, instead of waiting hours for initial structure from motion processing, DroneDeploy customers can tie ground control data into a map using a workflow that takes 20 minutes or less with a user interface that is intuitive and largely automated. The workflow also makes accurate map processing in projected coordinate systems accessible to users with limited geographic information systems (GIS) knowledge. Simple prompts help these users understand what they need to do to deliver a map in the right spatial reference system.

Assisting our users in tying in ground control data will save them time and make the process of generating maps with ground truth simple and faster than ever before. We’re excited to take this first step toward making survey grade accuracy achievable on any map, for any user.

Dr. Nicholas Pilkinton, Co-founder and CTO, DroneDeploy

Easily identify and tag ground control points with the new self-serve GCP workflow

Easily Upload and Tag Ground Control Points in DroneDeploy

The new self-serve GCP workflow in DroneDeploy makes uploading and tagging GCPs simple for any customer — no matter your level of expertise. When uploading images from the mapping flight, just specify the correct spatial reference system and upload a spreadsheet with the GCP coordinates. Then, fifteen minutes later, you can use the self-serve GCP tool to review photos of GCP targets and tag the center in each photo.

The Self-Serve GCP processing tool allows us to turn around mission data in a much more timely manner.

Michael Lambert, Chasco Constructors

To learn more about the new DroneDeploy self-serve GCP workflow, watch our tutorial video below.

Self-serve GCP processing is available for $49 per map to customers on the Business plan of DroneDeploy and an unlimited GCP package is available for our Enterprise customers.

Where to Learn More

Learn more about the importance of GCPs and the new self-serve workflow by signing up for our upcoming webinar, Streamline Your Workflow with Automated Ground Control Points.

Need more background on GCPs? Read our two-part blog series on using GCPs:

Curious about drone mapping accuracy with and without the use of GCPs? Read our new whitepaper, Linear Measurement Accuracy of DJI Drone Platforms and Cloud-Based Photogrammetry.

To learn more about processing ground control points, consult our support documentation:

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