I have always been the type of person that likes to prove things and quantify the results.
When Electronic Distance Meters (EDM) came out,
yea I know I am dating myself
, I had to test them on a calibrated baseline to prove that they measured the same distance as chaining them before I trusted them.
When GPS came out I tested them against the EDM.
When total stations came out I tested them against GPS.
Now drones with aerial survey mapping are available. Guess what? I am testing them out to make sure that they produce the same results as ground survey methods. I just got to know that they work.
There are so many models and manufacturers of drones that it is hard to really know which ones work the best. They all say they are the best.
The same way with processing software, they all say they are the best.
It is hard to get your head around all of it.
If money was no option, you would simply buy each one and test it out then choose the one that works best for your operation. Unfortunately money is an option for most of us which is why I share my testing results so you have something to work with.
I selected the DJI products due to their reputation and reliability. They are the leading manufacturer for some reason.
I tested Dronedeploy the free version, Pix4D for two years and Metashape Pro this last year. I chose Metashape Pro because it has the tools I need for my testing procedures, it is in my price range and it runs on the Mac.
I am sharing the results of the testing I recently completed on a project site.
This test was designed to compare the survey mapping results between the Mavic 2 Pro and the Inspire 2 with x5s camera - 15mm lens.
I have been told and read that the Mavic 2 Pro is no good for survey mapping due to the rolling shutter. Is this true? I had to find out for myself.
People often rely/repeat what they have been told without really checking it out. I am not one of those people.
The Testing Site (1.5 acres)
Thirty (30) GCPs were set using GPS methods. GPS methods were used because this is what most GCPs are set with by the surveying community primarily due to budget and time constraints.
It would really be awesome to have long static reads on GCPs to get the positioning down to millimeters however not many clients are willing to pay for that or have the time that it takes.
Time is money!
Five (5) of the thirty were used to constrain the survey model to with Metashape Pro as shown by the red triangles. Twenty five (25) were used as checkpoints to check the Root Mean Square Errors (RMSE) to the standards set by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).
The results of the test below confirm that both drones meet the ASPRS at 95% Confidence Level Horizontal class of 0.63cm and the Vertical class of 1-cm.