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Drone LiDAR Surveying

LiDAR Drone Surveys Carried Out by Industry Experts

  • Absolute Accuracy and Enhanced Image Quality
  • Affordable Solutions
  • Ideal for a Variety of Industries
  • Maximum Speed and Coverage
  • Industry-Leading Drone LiDAR Survey Technology
an aerial lidar survey of a city
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What is LiDAR Drone Surveying?

LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. LiDAR mapping is the creation of topographical surfaces using laser pulses to detect changes in the surface. LiDAR uses laser beams emitted from the sensor at a very high rate; the time taken to return to the sensor is calculated, and the point of contact with the surface or object is recorded. LiDAR helps create valuable insights by collecting millions of points that can be used to create detailed 3D models.

We Use Industry-Leading LiDAR Technology for All Short- and Long-Range Applications

Cutting-edge LiDAR and drone technologies for a variety of applications

We use the DJI Zenmuse L1 LiDAR unit on our M300 drones, and with the correct planning and workflow, we can achieve survey-grade accuracy.

By using drone LiDAR surveying:

  • Drone LiDAR survey data has a significant advantage over drone photogrammetry data.
  • Continually collect hundreds of thousands of points per second.
  • It makes up a digital surface model that can be turned into a LiDAR 3D point cloud for processing and analysis.
  • The LiDAR sensor technology produces highly accurate measurements, data collection, and positional accuracy, which are complemented with ground control points and survey points to improve and verify the accuracy.
  • It is used for a variety of purposes, such as mapping construction sites and construction planning, environmental monitoring, flood modelling, building inspections, irrigation planning, route planning, access restricted areas, city mapping, urban planning, drone inspections and more.

Professional and GDPR-Compliant Drone LiDAR Services

The lightweight LiDAR sensor uses laser beams and not a camera, meaning that many GDPR concerns can be removed from the equation, making it ideal in sensitive areas.

We are proud to offer drone LiDAR surveying services that are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We believe in protecting the data collected through our surveys and only provide it to our customers after all regulations have been met. We are highly trained to provide LiDAR drone surveys for our clients.

DJI L1 for Drone LiDAR Surveying

Cost-Effective LiDAR Drone Surveys Conducted by Industry Professionals

We provide the piloting skills and expertise to complete some of the most complex operations

At Drone Services Ireland, we have spent many hours partaking in drone LiDAR surveying training courses to enhance our understanding of the best practices for data capture and post-processing using the drone LiDAR survey sensor. This places you in the best hands when it comes to providing accurate LiDAR data for your application. We provide the piloting skills and expertise to complete some of the most complex operations, providing a much more cost-effective and accurate survey method than traditional surveying methods.

No matter if you have limited access or are facing critical infrastructure or complex terrain, we are here to help you get the drone LiDAR survey data you need quickly and accurately.

an aerial lidar survey of a city


Learn more about our LiDAR Drone Surveying services:

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Can you add LiDAR to a drone?

Due to recent technological advancements and reduced sensor and chip sizes, LiDAR can be mounted onto some drones. Not all drones can carry the weight of a LiDAR sensor, but the enterprise drones that we use can carry several different models of LiDAR units.

The accuracy of a drone LiDAR survey depends on several factors, including the size of the area being surveyed, the quality and resolution of the sensors used, and the number of ground control points incorporated in the survey. Generally, drones can achieve accuracies down to 5 cm or less. The accuracy of a LiDAR drone survey is typically higher than that of traditional surveying techniques.

Drone LiDAR surveying differs from the photogrammetry used in our aerial surveys, which cannot see bare earth where vegetation or tree canopies exist. Photogrammetry uses images stitched together and georeferenced from LiDAR user’s laser beams. Laser technology uses multiple returns to penetrate the vegetation until the hard surface is reached.

Terrestrial laser scanning has been used in construction for many years, and aerial laser scanning is somewhat newer due to the size and weight of LiDAR units. Recent technological advances have allowed smaller, lighter units to be mounted on planes and drones, allowing for high-density aerial scans.

Overgrown sites or even long grass during the summer months can affect the data collected by photogrammetry, and LiDAR should be used.

There are differences in mission planning due to the requirements for LiDAR and photogrammetry; this can be the difference between survey-grade and OK results.

Some of the main areas where LiDAR shows its worth are in areas of vegetation, even medium grass; LiDAR can penetrate through to hit the hard surface of the ground. This is due to the number of returns from the LiDAR unit before it reflects off a surface. Many drone topographical surveys need to consider grass growth during the summer, which can give erroneous elevation data.

Drone LiDAR surveys are often used on overgrown greenfield sites or before requesting planning permission. Construction companies and developers can leverage the benefits of this technology as part of the planning and construction processes.

LiDAR mapping comes into its own when vegetation or forest canopy penetration is required. Regular drone camera sensors will only see the top of the trees or the long grass in an overgrown field, and LiDAR can penetrate through the canopy of vegetation until it hits the hard surface of the ground.

LiDAR technology can give all sorts of data, and if the collection is correctly carried our, it can even lead to the measurement of tree trunks from the resulting point cloud.

Drone LiDAR surveys generate millions of data points, each having a georeferenced value. These values are then compared with the other data points in the set, and many calculations are derived from them. Stockpile volumetrics, distance measurements, slope length and angle, building heights, and features such as windows and doors can all be extracted from the data set.

We use industry-leading drone LiDAR software, as with all our processes and workflows.

There is no simple answer to a drone lidar price, but generally, the size of the site or area to be surveyed will determine the pricing. The bigger the site, the more planning and flight time are required. More data will be captured on more significant sites, meaning more ground control will be placed and recorded. More significant sites generate more extensive data sets, which take longer to process. We generally price jobs based on sizing bands. Under 50 acres, 50 – 100 acres, etc. The required deliverables also determine the price.

Drone LiDAR surveys are not suitable in all situations.

LiDAR and water do not mix due to refraction and light absorption. That is not to say that LiDAR cannot penetrate water; it can, but it requires a specific wavelength beam, not what is traditionally used for land surveying.

LiDAR is generally not a good solution for coastal erosion monitoring. Photogrammetry also has its challenges with water due to movement in the water between images, but for coastal erosion, surveying can be achieved by monitoring the tides.

The light spectrum is large, and many specialised sensors can perform various tasks. These may or may not fit on current drone technology but they will generally require custom fitting. We can provide these services and work with you to achieve your goals.

Drones are being used more and more in LiDAR surveys. With the reduction in size and price of aerial-mounted LiDAR units, the benefits of speed and coverage mean that it is far more economical to use drone LiDAR surveys. When properly planned and executed, the accuracy is on par with on-the-ground surveys and is often more accurate due to the millions of extra data points collected. A more granular site plan can be generated with contour details much faster than traditional surveys to achieve the same levels of accuracy.

We have previously used the drone LiDAR survey method on a heavily vegetated site that was inaccessible due to safety and dense vegetation. We used the L1 LiDAR on the M300 to survey the site. We incorporated the surveyors’ on-site points, and the drone LiDAR survey’s accuracy was within 5cm across the site. The data gathered during the LiDAR drone survey allowed us to generate contours based on the under-canopy surface and extract boundaries and break lines. Drone LiDAR mapping is excellent for the CAD and design processes where site access is restricted.