What are the main methods used for aerial surveying?

main methods used for aerial surveying

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It is very significant to a range of industries, as it supplies critical data and information for mapping, monitoring and analysis. By understanding the primary techniques employed in aerial photography surveys, one can gain insights into their strengths, limitations and applications, hence our focus on the three broad classifications of aerial survey methods: Drone Aerial Photography Surveys; Plane Aerial Surveys; and Helicopter Aerial Surveys.

Drone Aerial Surveys

Versatility, accessibility and cost-effectiveness have made drone aerial surveying immensely popular in recent years. Drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as they are also known) typically carry high-resolution cameras and sensors that capture detailed images from various heights.

Drone Survey Advantages

  • Flexibility: This ensures full coverage of all areas including those that would otherwise be dangerous or difficult to reach.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: They usually require fewer resources than traditional manned flights thus making them more economical.
  • Efficiency: Quick data capturing by drones enables rapid processing and analysis.
  • Safety: Drone operations are safer with no human pilot onboard, thereby eliminating risks associated with aerial surveys.

Drone Survey Disadvantages

  • Limited Payload Capacity: Certain types of equipment cannot be mounted onto drones for the use of aerial survey because they cannot bear heavy loads or specialized sensors.
  • Flight Time: Battery life determines how long a drone can fly necessitating extra flights or battery change during extensive surveys.
  • Weather Dependency: Adverse weather conditions such as strong winds or rain can hinder drone operations thereby affecting the quality of data collected.

Helicopter Aerial SurveysΒ 

Helicopter aerial surveys have always been recognized for their speed, agility and capacity to scan large areas over short periods. To conduct infrastructural inspections, and surveillance programs besides mapping purposes helicopters fitted out with state-of-the-art cameras take airborne pictures.

Helicopter Aerial Surveys Advantages

  • Speed: Suitable where there are tight deadlines or cases of emergency, helicopters cover large areas within short periods.
  • Altitude Flexibility: Helicopters can fly at different altitudes, thus providing various angles and perspectives for aerial surveying.
  • Payload Capacity: Surveying capabilities are increased with the ability of helicopters to carry heavy equipment as well as specialized sensors.

Helicopter Aerial Surveys Disadvantages

  • Cost: Maintaining a helicopter is costly while drone surveys come cheaper due to pilot expertise, maintenance and fuel.
  • Weather Sensitivity: Poor weather conditions including unfavourable atmospheric pressure may impede flight safety and affect data quality when using a helicopter.

Plane Aerial Surveys

Plane aerial photography surveys represent another vital method in aerial surveying, offering unique advantages and challenges compared to drone and helicopter surveys. In this article, we will take a closer look into the details of plane aerial surveys whilst discussing their pros, and cons, and summing up all types of aerial surveys altogether.

Plane Aerial Photography Surveys Advantages

  • Extensive Coverage: Planes can survey vast areas efficiently hence they are perfect for huge mapping projects or regional studies.
  • High Altitude: Their ability to fly at higher levels allows them to capture bigger pictures than other modes thus increasing survey accuracy.
  • Speed and Efficiency: As compared to ground-based techniques planes have the advantage of covering long distances in shorter periods reducing both costs related to operational issues as well as saving time for surveys themselves.
  • Advanced Sensors: These include multispectral cameras and LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) among other sophisticated equipment affixed on these planes which collect various information needed for detailed analysis purposes.

Plane Aerial Surveys Disadvantages

  • Cost Considerations: Such operations cost heavily due to plane maintenance fees together with fuel consumption plus special sensor equipment prices.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Plane survey activities become more complicated from the standpoint of compliance with aviation regulations that deal with airspace restrictions on landing permits etc., which leads to additional administrative work.
  • Weather Impact: Safe surveying requires good weather conditions where the sky is clear and stable, just like helicopters.
  • Difficulty to Control: In comparison with drones and helicopters, planes have less manoeuvrability and are not agile enough for very precise or close surveys.


Aerial photography in surveys is the most effective way to obtain data through drones, helicopters, or aircraft. These industries often involve data collection, mapping and analysis. Therefore, firms can combine different methods’ strengths such that they get a comprehensive survey result leading to informed decision-making.

In conclusion, a choice of an aerial surveying method is dependent on project requirements, budget considerations as well as regulatory compliance including environmental factors. At Aerologix we specialize in delivering customized aerial survey solutions that meet your objectives through the use of cutting-edge technologies, well-experienced staff and extreme quality commitment.

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