Drones and Remote Sensing

CREST@UCS provides support and knowledge transfer in the area of mapping, remote sensing and geospatial analysis. This may involve developing new workflows for geospatial analysis or investigating new tools and methodologies to enhance the capacity of companies we support. It can also entail leveraging the potential of free and open source datasets to add value to a company’s existing offering and produce new products or services.

In addition to providing expertise in this area, CREST@UCS has a hardware offering that includes surveying equipment and drones with the capability of capturing high quality visible, thermal, and multi-spectral imagery. This can be employed to measure water quality, energy efficiency, biodiversity and land management usage among other things. See below for details on the hardware available to you through CREST@UCS.

Some of the projects CREST@UCS has already completed in this research area include:

  • Mapping of food poverty across the county to enable a charity to identify high risk areas, and help improve the provision of support services, particularly in often overlooked rural areas.
  • Development of a web based geospatial reporting platform, designed to be customised to the client’s needs, providing an entirely new product and potential revenue stream for the company involved.
  • Using drone imagery to correlate with soil and water samples to understand the current composition of land in relation to compaction, pollution, saturation and nutrient availability. There was a particular focus on identifying and understanding groundwater pathways to inform flood management efforts in a highly responsive ‘risk to life’ catchment.
  • Training and upskilling in geospatial data, providing CPD development at an introductory level for broad audiences alongside bespoke sessions tailored to business needs. In particular, developing awareness of open source tools and open datasets, which has allowed organisations to enhance their offering while also cutting costs.
  • Mapping of change in forest cover over time, with a particular focus on identifying potential timber theft.
  • Modelling of green space data onto maps for strategic planning purposes.
  • Aggregation of mapping/geospatial open data with business data for the development of new software products and services.
  • Business networking and socials through our Shrewsbury Geospatial Forum which meets bi-monthly.

Some of the CREST@UCS team capturing drone imagery in Ironbridge with Severn Gorge Countryside Trust, October 2019

Drone and GIS Hardware

Our Spectra SP60 GNSS rover can provide <4cm survey accuracy in real time using Trimble’s CentrePoint RTX correction service, while our Spectra T35 robotic total station can enable surveying with millimetre accuracy.

Our range of drones and sensors can fulfil a wide range of applications:

  • The small and versatile DJI Mavic Pro can easily be transported and deployed in remote or inaccessible areas to provide high quality video or still images, suitable for creation of georectified orthophotos.
  • The DJI Inspire 2 takes this a step further with longer flight time and a range of sensors including a Zenmuse X7 camera, capable of recording film quality video or 24 MP still images – allowing for centimetre resolution aerial photography – and a Zenmuse XT radiometric thermal sensor, providing thermal imaging suitable for applications such as energy efficiency and water quality among others.
  • Finally, the DJI Matric M600 Pro offers flight times of up to 37 minutes, allowing for extensive coverage in a single flight, and can carry a payload of 6-7kg, allowing for a wider range of sensors to be deployed. This includes our Parrot Sequoia multispectral sensor capable of capturing images in near-infrared (NIR), red-edge, red and green bands, making it ideal for biodiversity applications.