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Aerial Drone Services 101: Data Formats Explained

The data collected from aerial drone services can take various formats according to the requirements and specifications of the client.

Read on to learn more about the different data formats available from aerial drone services and some examples of how they can be used.

Geo-Referenced Orthophotography

When aerial images are geometrically corrected to a uniform scale and land-based geographical coordinates are linked to the image, you have a digital image that is effectively a digital map. This geo-referenced image can correlate any point on the image to an exact location on the land surface.

This pinpoint accuracy is useful in measuring distances, planning layouts and plotting roads and railway routes.

Digital Surface Models (DSM)

Data collected from aerial drone services can be used to construct digital models of the earth’s surface and depict representations of human-made and natural features. A digital surface model captures the upper surface of a region and will include objects such as buildings, treetops and bare earth.

Digital Terrain Models (DTM) 

Data captured by aerial drone services, satellites and helicopters are used to construct a digital representation of the earth’s surface at ground level, but without any human-made features such as buildings and other infrastructure and excluding natural features and vegetation.

LiDAR Point Cloud Data

LiDAR aerial drone services collect data that can be outputted as point cloud data. Laser points are converted into a series of closely spaced 3D points representing the objects or surfaces in the area. Each of these 3D points comprises measurables such as x, y and z coordinates that allow digital recreation of any entity in three dimensions.  

Mapping and GIS Datasets

A geographical information system (GIS) is used to create, analyse, manage and map all types of objects and locations. This data is then linked to a map, building a digital representation of the area that depicts where objects are located and what they are like (descriptions).  

The data layers and spatial location information embedded in these models are used to establish patterns and relationships in a geographical context and are used across a broad range of industries.

And More Uses Of Aerial Drone Services Data

Contact the Recon team today to learn more about our aerial drone services and the available data formats we can produce for your project. We are experienced in surveying, aerial mapping, terrestrial 3D scanning and more using the latest technologies.


Get in touch to find out how we can help on your next project.

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