UAV Accuracy, Repeatability: Is it Real?

I get to talk to a lot of UAV folks. Typically they are new practitioners who are looking for a fast and inexpensive method of doing Ground Control (GC) and Ground Check Points (GCP) for jobs that are going to be flown using fixed or rotary wing aircraft. We get involved because of the affordability of the iG3s static solution and our great RTK offerings.

One of the scary things that I am figuring out is that the people who are flying these jobs don’t have much of a survey background.

I am just going to throw this thought out: If you are selling UAV services in the USA and don’t have a good handle on these four items:

  • US Survey Feet vs. International Feet
  • IGS08 vs. NAD83 2011 2010.0 (What is a realization, what is an epoch? If you don’t know then you don’t know.)
  • Orthometric vs. Ellipsoid (+ GPS Derived Heights, i.e. GEOID Separation)
  • Accuracy vs. Repeatability

Then I think that you are precluded from making any accuracy claims!

In other words, if you don’t explicitly know the difference between IGS08 and NAD83; then you CAN NOT possibly claim on your website that you are delivering sub-centimeter results. I mean, you just can’t.

I happened on a great white paper last Friday [ Strix ] [ PDF Link ] that does a great job of actually empirically looking at 225 flights over the same test bed. It delves into the differences in lighting, flight patterns, control spacing and more.

Basically I think that this stuff might actually be rocket science. At least lets be clear that it is not simple.

🙂 M

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