Case Study

High Precision Boundary Mapping

Using RTK Enabled Drone Systems

Drones equipped with RTK GPS systems flown autonomously to acquire data used to map boundaries accurate to within 10cm.

In this example we use our Storm AG Pro drone system equipped with optional RTK GPS system. RTK uses 2 gps sensors on the drone system and a 3rd on a fixed ground-station unit to give precise positioning accurate to with 5cm horizontal and 2cm vertical in 3d space.

Using data captured by this system and Aeroview mapping software we can create extremely accurate orthomosaic image file. This, and any measurements or shape-files produced from it are accurate with an maximum error of 10cm horizontal and 5cm vertical (for terrain elevation). For comparison a standard drone GPS system gives an overall accuracy of 1-2 meters horizontal and 50cm to 1 meter vertical.

Advantages of using Drone based RTK systems for field measurements:
  • Permanent and changing field features can be accurately drawn in (bog areas. pylons. margins, tramlines etc) for RTK equipped ground machinery to utilize.
  • Various measurements can be made in detail to help calculate quantities of material to be applied to the field.
  • No field travel requirement – no damage to areas and avoid wet ground issues.
  • Elevation/ 3d Model features can be used for advanced ground measurement and efficiency planning – measure a true ground travel distance by taking into account terrain elevation profiles.
Storm Agriculture Drone RTK system with Sequioa
rtk based drone map

Fields are first mapped and processed with Aeroview

This produces a geo-referenced orthomosaic image (map)

A field boundary and any other elements are traced

Using zoom functions and the polygon tool
boundary drawn on uav rtk map
boundary being drawn on drone map

The boundary is then named and saved

Any measurements can also be carried out
boundary from rtk drone map Drone based RTK field mapping
shapefile export drone map RTK drone generated field boundary in Google Earth

Once saved the boundary can be exported

KMZ (for Earth) or Shapefile format to trasfer to other farm management software and machinery.

How long does it take?

 

  1. Set-up = 10 mins (including flight plan)
  2. Drone Flight = Approx. 0.5 mins/ha (100m altitude. 4cm/pixel. 11 m/s)
  3. Data Upload = 1 -4 mins/ha (depending on upload speed)
  4. Processing = 24 hrs Max in the cloud (for multiple data sets – standard quoted data turn around).
  5. Boundary drawing = 5 mins per field
  6. Export (shp. KMZ) = < 1 min

Total for this example (minus cloud processing) = 45 mins. (In-field = 16 mins) (Office = 29 mins).

The most efficient workflow would be map multiple fields (up to 300 ha per day. per drone). Then mass upload, processing them all within 24 hrs. Then draw in boundaries for all fields.

Compared to using a ground based system to plot boundaries by driving around them with a GPS system on board:

  • The time required on-site is a lot less using drone systems, many areas can be mapped quickly.
  • No in-field ground impact with drones systems.
  • Time required off-site is a lot more with drone systems, but the actual man hours required is low, as much is just processing time.
  • Data can be viewed and manipulated from anywhere once uploaded – one person can be out mapping areas while anther processes the data back at base.