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Survey Signs (hi rises, billboards, building signs, etc)

SignGuy

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Hi, all! Wondering if solutions already exist for this.

I’m looking for a solution that will allow the operator to (1) take a reference photo of an object directly in front of the drone while (2) getting a distance measurement to said object. The idea is with the distance data, I can extrapolate dimensions of 2D objects in the photo. For signs, it’s mostly simple shapes, especially at heights that would make using a drone attractive over paying for a manned survey. Of course, the larger the sign, the farther away the photo has to be taken to avoid distorting proportions, and the greater the distance the measuring device must be able to function.

I fully acknowledge that this is not the same as a hands on survey which would ultimately be required, but there is a market for “ball parking” prices for a lower cost survey.

My main hope is that an option exists for modifying a consumer level drone with a simple measuring device (similar to handheld laser distance measures) without having to pioneer a first time DIY.

Thanks in advance for any input!
 

Dave Pitman

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I’m looking for a solution that will allow the operator to (1) take a reference photo of an object directly in front of the drone while (2) getting a distance measurement to said object.
Laser finders are available on some DJI enterprise craft including the new M30.
 
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SethB

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…My main hope is that an option exists for modifying a consumer level drone with a simple measuring device (similar to handheld laser distance measures) without having to pioneer a first time DIY…
One of the main differentiators between most consumer and pro drones is the ability to integrate different sensor payloads, such as cameras, rangefinders, thermal, etc.

Maybe somebody has a standalone recording laser rangefinding sensor that could be strapped to a consumer drone… but how do you then associate the measurement with a particular photo? Timestamp perhaps?

Another approach (and I am by no means practiced in this) would be to look at a high-precision GPS setup, I believe the system is called RTK, that might allow you to more precisely stamp the drone’s position in photo metadata. You might hover the drone immediately over the sign, perhaps over each end, squeeze off a pic with the camera pointing straight down at -90 deg, sign corner aligned in cross-hairs, then get the pic where the sign fills the screen.

The position metadata would need to be analyzed in post to derive the info you’re interested in…
 

SignGuy

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Thanks all for your answers!

I will look at the options to see about price limitations.

I have tried implementing GPS data for 3D modeling, and the accuracy is just too far off.

I’ll see if I can use a tool that already exists for this and have a drone capable of supporting the payload fly it, with remote activation, of course. If it works, the tool could be good for the ground and air.
 
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SethB

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Thanks all for your answers!

I will look at the options to see about price limitations.

I have tried implementing GPS data for 3D modeling, and the accuracy is just too far off...
RTK advertised as 1 to 2 centimeter accuracy.

It’s very helpful with photogrammetric approaches to 3D modeling to have one known measurement to provide scale.
 

Dave Pitman

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Another approach (and I am by no means practiced in this) would be to look at a high-precision GPS setup, I believe the system is called RTK, that might allow you to more precisely stamp the drone’s position in photo metadata.
Several options on the market available already. Not cheap though. Can you take another whack at what you are trying to accomplish again. Modeled surface and structures is somewhat common with drones these days with precision to 3cm horizontally and 5cm vertically.
 

R.Perry

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You may want to look at Drone Deploy software. It will do vertical structures with pre programmed distances. Can stitch photos for large projects with outstanding results. Also can download to AutoCad and other file formats.
 

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