When it comes to flying a lidar UAV, the ideal flight conditions are sunny days with no precipitation, fog, or strong winds. Lukas Fraser, director of unmanned systems programs at NV5, has discussed the rise of drone-based LiDAR and its best use cases. He explains how data accuracy is guaranteed when capturing a drone-based LiDAR, why LiDAR and high-resolution images are complementary technologies, and new market opportunities for bathymetric LiDAR. Another essential factor to consider is the direction of the wind.
For aerial topography projects with drones, flying with the wind is best. This is because a headwind can slow down the drone and make it difficult to control, while a tailwind can push the drone forward and cause it to move faster. Temperature is also something to take into account when flying a drone. Extreme heat or cold can affect the battery life and make it difficult to control. For optimal results, it's best to fly a drone in mild temperatures.
The most suitable climate for flying drones for aerial topography projects is a clear sky with minimal cloud cover, low winds, mild temperatures, and good visibility. Check the forecast before you fly to get an idea of what to expect. Regardless of what time of day you fly, the weather can have a major impact on your flight. Be sure to observe the sky, check the latest weather forecast, and plan accordingly if adverse weather conditions are likely to occur. Don't fly in rain, snow, strong winds, or fog.
Your images won't be used to create a 3D map and you run the risk of damaging your drone under these conditions. The NV5 has just started dedicating itself to everything related to 3D LiDAR since being able to see under vegetation and generate so many points on the ground has been an enormous advantage for the company, according to Fraser. While LiDAR competes with traditional stereophotogrammetry since it was used to generate cutting lines (creating 3D polylines to represent elements such as curbs, retaining walls and bridges), its advantages make it an invaluable tool for aerial topography projects.