Natural Power takes to the skies with a ‘flying surveyor’

The Trimble UX5  aerial surveyor
The Trimble UX5 aerial surveyor

Natural Power has invested in the latest aerial imaging surveyor and the Trimble UX5 has just been deployed from a windswept hillside overlooking the Isle of Arran as part of its first commercial deployment.

Sub-zero temperatures and strong winds were no deterrent for the aerial imaging surveyor’s first mission, with the survey team flying up to 100m above the ground, at speeds in excess of 90km/hr. Over the course of a single day, full coverage of a project site (5km2) was achieved. A variety of data streams were acquired including high-resolution aerial imagery and high accuracy 3D topographic data.

Data from the new aerial imaging surveyor will be integrated with traditional ground-based surveys, and further augments Natural Power’s land based GPS survey capability by providing highly efficient provision of data, precision survey grade accuracy, 3D terrain models and high resolution imagery.

The dedicated and trained flight operators are supported by Natural Power’s remote operations expertise, having proven the technology across a variety of project sites throughout the UK. Not only does this new resource provide wider opportunities for front end, engineering design and optimisation to fully realise the potential of new projects, it can also monitor live construction progress as well as environmental variables, and help to identify issues rapidly, particularly in the case of inaccessible project sites.

Gavin Germaine, Natural Power’s Senior Geotechnical Engineer, said: “Our new drone equipment enables full site coverage to be achieved in a very short time, thus reducing costs, impact and exposure of personnel to the hazards of the natural working environment.

“Normally, pre-construction and planning phase projects require topographic survey data to assist with project design and optimisation.

“Deploying teams on foot to collect this data is time consuming, and can therefore impact upon budgets and programme, whilst precision can be limited by the low density of data collection, and multiple re-deployments may be required to meet the requirements of an iterative design process.


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