Drone flying in the air
Drone Technology

Drones and their impact on GIS Mapping

October 21, 2021


Drones have risen in popularity in recent years due to their recreational uses and because they have a myriad of applications in multiple industries. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are versatile, easy to acquire, and simple to operate. Moreover, their technological development has given them capabilities that make them nearly indispensable in the field.

Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) is a field that heavily benefits from using professional drones because of their capacity to collect information that can be utilized for geospatial data visualization. UAVs provide functions absent in other forms of remote sensing.

What Makes Up a Drone?

UAVs typically consist of an aircraft and a gimbal, along with various attachments. The remote-controlled aircraft is responsible for flying, and it works like a miniature helicopter, using propellers to take flight. On the other hand, the gimbal attaches recording instruments (such as cameras) to the drone. It also acts as a stabilizing platform to reduce vibrations as the device records images, videos, or other visual data.

Drones can carry various payloads to record data depending on the application. These attachments include cameras, LiDAR, hyperspectral sensors, or barometers. They allow the drones to collect the geospatial data necessary in GIS processing.

How Do Drones Impact GIS Mapping?

The GIS field significantly benefits from drone technology because UAVs make geospatial data collection less expensive and more accessible. The traditional method typically involves renting conventional aircraft and trained pilots and attaching recording instruments like infrared cameras to the plane. This way of gathering information can be resource-intensive and costly.

Even advanced UAVs will be less expensive than hiring a professional pilot and renting traditional aircraft. Moreover, drones have more flexibility when it comes to flight. These small and portable devices can fit between buildings and map out spatial information in tighter structures. Once professionals collect the geospatial information they need for their applications, they can store, process, and share it with an easy-to-use spatial data platform. 

Many drones also have Wi-Fi capabilities that allow for a first-person view (FPV). This technology will enable drones with Wi-Fi cameras to show what the drone “sees” during its flight. Some of them may also fly autonomously by using GPS information. These advancements make UAVs highly flexible, and the operator does not need to be a skilled pilot to use them.

What Challenges Do Drones Face in GIS Mapping?

Although UAVs make data collection affordable and convenient, there are some significant barriers to their use for GIS mapping. For example, there are some strict regulations regarding commercial drones. Moreover, some devices have limitations in range, battery life, and storage.

Invest in an Easy-to-Use Collaborative Mapping Solution

Commercial drones provide a significant boon to the realm of geospatial information systems. These devices offer professionals a cost-effective, efficient, and highly accessible method of collecting geospatial data for various applications. Although they come with some barriers, continued technological development and more transparent regulations can further benefit the field.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use spatial data platform, Ellipsis Drive has you covered. We offer a convenient and cost-effective solution to your GIS needs, from storage to trading and sharing geospatial data. Invest in our solutions—contact us today!

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