FACT: UAV Photogrammetry can be as accurate as any other method.
Don't believe me?
It's true. Team UAV have both seen and produced under 5mm accuracy datasets using our drones, optics and the very best photogrammetry software available. But, accuracy is relative. Being accurate in your initial measurement is vital, but being able to re-produce that measurement the next time is critical to being accurate. If "accuracy" is how close your data is in relation to the real world, then we need to define some key words and phrases;
The world changes by the hour, minute and second, so there will always be a level of inaccuracy in measure. Can we stop it changing? No. This is usually why we are required to re survey and re measure. So stopping that would be terribly bad for business..
Accuracy has two definitions:
The more common definition is that accuracy is a level of measurement with no inherent limitation (ie. free of systematic error, another form of observational error).
The ISO definition is that accuracy is a level of measurement that yields true (no systematic errors) and consistent (no random errors) results.
So yes, you are reading correctly. There are never, ever going to be perfect datasets by any means. What we should concentrate on now is producing quality, consistent results, within the means and timescale that you as an expert in your field, require.
Using precision tools for measure is your only chance of minimising error and improving quality. UAV equipment such as precision GPS, Flight Controllers and stabilisation is paramount. Having the finest optics and sensors to capture the images and data are essential. Using the most accurate software is key. But what is to be said for the operator? Just as important? you can bet your life it is.
Knowledge is absolute whilst you're in survey mode. Don't know your equipment and how to get the results you need from it? Then you better hire in someone who does. I've never pretended to know everything about inspection and survey but I surround myself and create strategic partnerships with people and businesses that do. Knowledge is power and we should all share our knowledge to better our industry. We often give our strategic partners work switch days, so that they can spend a few days with our teams on the ground to see how we gather the best data. This also enables us a business to see what our partners are doing and get "fresh eyes" on the situation - and maybe even find new ways to operate even more efficiently. This is why we should all share knowledge - it will almost certainly lead to better results and instil a high level of confidence in your Clients. We have a carefully selected dynamic group of partnerships with industry leaders such as Pix4D, DJI, CentreMaps, Laser Surveys and others that we can call upon for expert advice when required.
So, to summarise; - don't ditch UAV data if your perception is that "it just isn't accurate enough". In this industry you get what you pay for. If you're paying for cheap data then you'll end up with poor inaccurate results that will have an adverse effect on your project. If you need precision data sets then set the standard from the very beginning to scope out wether your operator can capture the level of accuracy you require or not.
Moreover, get in touch with us and we'll show you just how accurate we are in the safest, most cost effective, efficient way.
UAV's are the future. Precision tools and operators are key.