Geospatial Aerial surveying2021-08-24T07:49:54+00:00

4.1 LiDAR Maping

LIDAR mapping is a unique remote sensing technology that has taken the surveying industry by storm. The acronym “LIDAR” stands for Light Detection and Ranging and describes how the technology uses light in the form of lasers to measure distances. Take-Off Professionals’ data specialists can compile the data collected by a LIDAR system and use it to create exceptionally precise three-dimensional information about a specific area and its characteristics. LIDAR is an ideal system for a variety of industries, including the civil engineering, roadwork and mining industries.

A LIDAR instrument consists of a laser, a scanner and a GPS receiver mounted on a platform. This platform may be mobile or stationary, aerial or terrestrial, based on the needs of the application — the laser, scanner and GPS receiver are the only constants.

There are two types of LIDAR — topographic and bathymetric. These are explained in more detail below:

Topographic: Topographic LIDAR measures distances on land using a near-infrared laser. This is essential for the majority of civil engineering, roadwork and mining operations, which require measuring distances on land.

Bathymetric: Bathymetric LIDAR measures distances in aquatic environments by using a water-penetrating green light laser. This type of LIDAR is commonly used in civil engineering and roadwork applications that require working with underwater environments, such as under bridges.

LIDAR is a highly advantageous survey system for a range of industries, primarily due to the following factors:

Speed: LIDAR can collect a million points of data per second, making it an exceptionally fast method of surveying. Scans of building interiors can last an average of three minutes, but even large-scale surveys can take under an hour to complete, making LIDAR one of the fastest surveying methods available.

Accuracy: LIDAR systems collect extremely dense data with very little room between points. This means that the results are highly accurate, allowing professionals to plot and model natural and man-made geographies with the level of precision they need to plan detailed projects.

Flexibility: When it comes to surveying land with LIDAR, there are plenty of options to choose from. LIDAR systems can be mounted on a variety of platforms based on the needs of an application. For small-scale surveying, a stationary tripod may suffice. LIDAR systems could also be mounted to airplanes, helicopters or drones to survey larger areas. LIDAR data can even be collected at any time of day or night since it uses light as the measurement tool.

Safety: LIDAR systems work relatively quickly and can be operated from a distance, making them a good choice for locations that may be unsafe for human operators to stay for extended periods of time. Their ability to be mounted to aerial crafts also allows them to be used to survey dangerous areas that human surveyors may not normally be able to access.

In addition to these advantages, LIDAR can be integrated with other data sources with relative ease. The key to effectively using LIDAR data, however, is working with a quality data processing company like Take-Off Professionals who can effectively use that data to deliver high-quality 3D models.

The use of LIDAR in civil engineering and surveying is extensive. LIDAR applications in civil engineering and surveying include, but are not limited to, the following:

Design: Civil engineering companies prefer LIDAR technology for its ability to offer extremely accurate results within a short time, which is essential for planning projects around terrestrial limitations.

Evaluation: Civil engineers often use LIDAR to inspect existing buildings and construction products for defects and changes. Comparing the data to previous data can identify changes in structure that would otherwise be difficult to find.

Surveying: Surveyors prefer LIDAR to help them create detailed 3D images, including the landscape and any vegetation or existing structures.

If your Organization uses or is interested in using LIDAR technology, you need a data industry leader to help compile your data and deliver fast and accurate results. Take-Off Professionals can help.

Take-off Professionals is a data industry leader, preparing 3D models and performing quantity takeoff services for a range of industries. We have extensive experience working with LIDAR technology and understand how LIDAR mapping works and how to use it. We are experienced at taking the data collected through LIDAR methods and compiling it into comprehensive, actionable models that companies in the civil engineering, roadwork and mining industries can use. We can help with any type of project from commercial construction to roadwork and mining operations.

Regardless of the system you use, Take-Off Professionals can work with you. We’ve worked with Carlson, Leica, Topcon, Trimble and more and provided our models in a range of final formats to meet the needs of our clients. This makes us an ideal choice for multi-brand fleets.

For over two decades, Take-Off Professionals has provided 3D models for construction companies and related industry professionals, producing about 1,000 machine control models a year. During that time, we’ve maintained a reputation for accuracy, timeliness and attention to detail that speaks for itself. Our knowledge and experience combined with the most advanced and innovative technology in the industry make us the ideal choice for your 3D machine control modeling needs.

4.2 Aerial Photogrammetry (Drone mapping)

Taking aerial photos is one of the most common approaches to mapping out an area. In this process, a camera is mounted on an aircraft and pointed toward the ground with a vertical or near-vertical axis. As the plane follows its flight path, the camera takes multiple overlapping photos, which are then processed in something called a stereo plotter.

The stereo plotter is an instrument that helps determine elevations by comparing two different photos and conducting the necessary calculations. With the help of photogrammetry software, we can process this information and create digital models out of it.

Terrestrial photogrammetry:

These images are taken from a fixed position on the ground with a camera’s axis parallel to the Earth. Data about the camera’s position, such as its coordinates, are collected at the time the photo is taken. The instruments used for terrestrial photography are often theodolites, though regular cameras are sometimes used as well. Terrestrial photogrammetry for surveying typically requires fewer resources and skilled technicians to accomplish, but it may take longer to cover a large portion of land.

Uses of photogrammetry

The ways that photogrammetry comes to life can vary widely by collection method, data gathered, industry use and compatible technologies.

Some of the products that come from the process include orthomosaics, digital surface models and digital terrain models. An orthomosaic is essentially a birds-eye view of a terrain that adjusts for distortion and can span wide landscapes. Digital surface models and digital terrain models represent surface levels and elevation. Surface models include buildings and trees, while the terrain model gets rid of all of these features, showing the height of the bare earth.

The most common use for photogrammetry is creating maps out of aerial photos. It is cost-effective and accurate, allowing planning entities like architects, local governments and construction workers to make clear, informed decisions about their projects without spending months scouring the landscape. It is also very detailed and can provide an exceptional level of information about an area.

Photogrammetry makes its mark in an array of industries, from medical research to film and entertainment. Here are some of the places you can find it:

Land surveying

We’ve already discussed the applications of photogrammetry in civil surveying, the results of which are used by many entities, including construction crews, governments, building planners and architects. All of the data gathered from photogrammetry inform them about everything from necessary safety measures to potential project results.


In the world of engineering, drone photography helps to evaluate sites for construction, as well as  create perspective images and 3D renderings. Engineers can produce images of project results or previews, as well as analyze their current progress.

Real estate

In the digital age, where 80% to 81% of millennials find their homes on mobile devices, creating attractive, accurate listings can significantly improve the buying experience and their understanding of the purchase. Viewers can see the home from all angles and get a clear idea of what they’re looking at.

Military intelligence

Photogrammetry also plays a role in data gathering for military programs. Accurate geo-locational models with low processing times are necessary for understanding a landscape. Aerial imagery and photogrammetric technology can work together to create accurate 3D maps quickly without any human input.

Film and entertainment

Photogrammetry can play a big role in set design and world-building for a variety of films and video games. 3D modeling can bring unique objects to fruition in a virtual world, like cityscapes for action sequences and accurate historical elements, such as statues and buildings. One popular franchise that uses photogrammetry is the “Battlefield” games, which have an art style that works well with these 3D renderings and recreations.

In addition to world-building, photogrammetry can also assist with designing special effects and real sets.


Photogrammetry also plays a part in crime investigation. It can help to document and measure precise data about a crime scene and determine what was physically possible. There are also many photogrammetric experts that can assist in the courtroom.

Construction and mining

Project engineers and contractors can use accurate 3D models to monitor and plan their worksites. The information from a photogrammetric model can help create a smart worksite with sensors and safety features that improve the environment. These models work in tandem with connected vehicles.


Analyzing athlete movements can help coaches and researchers understand more about their activities. They can develop virtual training systems and learn about the physical effort that players expend by tracking their body movements. Topographical maps also come in handy for outdoor athletes, like hikers, mountain climbers, skiers and snowboarders. Mapping remote areas is often easier with the help of photogrammetric technology.

Agriculture and forestry

In agriculture, aerial photos can offer insights into soil quality, irrigation scheduling, nutrition and pests. Farmers can adjust their planting schedules or adjust irrigation and fertilizers with this information. They can also use photogrammetry when assessing growth and crop damage after storms or floods.

Researching and managing forests becomes significantly easier with the help of photogrammetry. It can produce models to analyze various aspects of a forest, like timber volume and height, to better understand the development of a forest