self pilot drone flying in the air
Drone Technology

UAVs and GIS – What you need to know

October 3, 2021

As integral pillars of numerous industries, Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) provide various applications to businesses worldwide. These technologies have their uses in agriculture, planning, construction, real estate, conservation, and public safety. By storing and processing geospatial information, these systems provide information that businesses can use to plan and develop their projects.

A Brief Overview of Geospatial Information Systems

GIS can analyze geographic data and other relevant attributes to provide meaningful insights that businesses can use. Researchers can store this information in a geo database for future use. Although this technology has powerful capabilities, it can only be as good as the data it collects. It relies on other mechanisms to capture and feed information that the system can use.

Remote data capture technologies, such as GPS, coordinate geometry (COGO), LiDAR, and satellite imagery are some of the most important ways in which researchers can gather information for GIS. While these are reliable methods, they still have limitations. They require expensive equipment and trained aircraft operators to conduct remote sensing, and these are enough to hinder most companies from gathering the data they need to make full use of their GIS. Fortunately, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have become increasingly advanced and reliable in recent years. 

How UAVs Can Help with GIS Technology

UAVs such as drones have various uses for businesses. They allow industries to survey areas from an aerial perspective, reducing the need for traditional aircrafts. Moreover, they are reliable tools for capturing photos and videos for marketing and other relevant purposes. UAVs have also recently become a favorable and readily available solution for remote data sensing. 

The capabilities of UAVs have expanded exponentially in recent years. With some drones having automated flying abilities and remarkable performance, they’ve become promising autonomous data-collecting machines that work hand-in-hand with GIS technology. They provide a wealth of real-time mapping information of which geospatial information professionals can make full use.

A significant advantage of these devices is that even the most expensive drones only cost a fraction of the investment made in a small aircraft and a trained pilot. UAVs are also more nimble and lightweight, reducing the risk of damaging properties and causing human injuries. 

UAV Limitations

Although there’s no denying that their versatility and affordability make them a powerhouse in the field, they also have their unique set of challenges. For one, their small and lightweight bodies render them incapable of carrying large payloads. Another disadvantage to using drones is the limited flight time; they require batteries to operate, only allowing them to fly and record data for as long as their batteries last. Larger and more long-lasting batteries can also add to their payload, making them less flexible.

Data overload is also a significant problem for UAVs because larger amounts of data will require stronger software capabilities, which can be challenging to overcome. There are also some regulatory restrictions that can be a significant hurdle for drone use, as there are certain laws that give strict guidelines for the commercial use of UAVs.

Making Full Use of Geospatial Information 

GIS continues to disrupt multiple industries. More and more businesses are looking for ways to integrate this technology into their infrastructures. UAVs such as drones have also contributed to the availability of these systems, making it easier for professionals to collect, store, and analyze data for less. These two technologies now work together to benefit thousands of businesses, and they will likely continue to do so.

If you’re looking for cloud GIS software that will help you share, sell, and collaborate geospatial content, look no further than Ellipsis Drive. Our software is optimized in enabling you to make full use of geospatial information, allowing your business to soar to new heights. Learn how we can help—contact us today!

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