What is Drone Mapping?

And how does the data generated help you?

Drone mapping is a powerful “tool” to create 2D maps and 3D models. The mapping is used is a variety of ways. It is used in Inspections, Mapping, Surveys, Construction, Real Estate, Agriculture, Forestry and Disaster Relief.


Photogrammetry is the process of taking aerial pictures and creating 2D maps and 3D models. It allows us to measure distances between objects.

Aerial Data Outputs

The types of outputs available will depend on the purpose of the images.  Site images will fall under some categories that may be for internal use only. Other presentation formats may be intended for public consumption, and can easily be embedded on your business website.  Here’s a short list of formats Big Water UAV Solutions can deliver:

  • GeoTiffs – 2D
  • Full sized JPEGS – 2D
  • DTM (Digital terrain Model) – 2D
  • DSM (Digital surface model) – 2D
  • NDVI – Outputs that allow for viewing vegetation health
  • 3D Google Earth KMZ – 3D
  • OBJ – 3D
  • MULTIPLE ADDITIONAL 3D OUTPUTS – PLY, FBX, DXF are just a few examples of additional outputs. 

Your business needs will dictate the type of outputs Big Water UAV Solutions will need to deliver to your company or business. In order to determine what fits best for you, contact us now to get that discussion started.

Basic Output List

2D Models

Do you need an aerial overview of your jobsite or property? A 2D Model may be all you need. Maybe you’d like a custom map of your property, campground or RV park. Perhaps you wish to view comparable images for Agriculture and view plant counts, and plant health. The uses of Aerial mapping are endless.

3D Models

Do you need to look around a site and see it from every angle? A 3D Model can provide a virtual tour of your property, it may also help you identify areas that are falling behind in your next project. 3D Models can assist when planning solar panel installations, measuring stockpiles. Cell towers and other infrastructure can be mapped in 3D to provide detailed positioning of potential obstacles.

360 Panoramas

A 360 degree panoramic image series can present your business in a whole new way. Allow customers to see your business or property location from the air, and let them interact with the panoramic to see more of your property.

Site Comparisons

From multiple flights over a set time period you can document the changes to land, farm fields or a project over time. Giving you a unique perspective that you just can’t get from the ground.

Standard 2D orthomosaic from a Quarry
Digital Terrain Model (DTM) from a Quarry
Plant Health from a farm prior to green up

2D Models

2 dimensional models can present a lot of information, even though this type of output from aerial data is the most basic. You might think it’s basic, but it’s really not.

Simple 2D models can be presented as maps of your property or business location.  For instance, RV Resorts can create maps of their park sites easily with images collected into an orthomosaic presentation. 

2D models can go beyond just a basic map. Digital Terrain Models can also be presented as 2 dimensional models. For a quick look at high points, low points, and drainage paths on your project location, these models are invaluable. Volume and Stockpile Calculations can even be done with 2D Maps!

Agricultural plant health models are also presented in 2D.  Drones can carry special cameras for NDVI data (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) can be collected with special cameras mounted on drones, and using specific software for rendering NDVI information, these models can show plant health quickly and easily from the air.  These types of models can be of extreme help to agricultural concerns.  And they’re also incredibly useful for golf courses in order to determine what sections of the courses need work.

3D Aerial Models

Being able to examine a job site or property in 3D is extremely useful.  Seeing all sides and angles of a project can help you find problem areas quickly.  These models are also useful as intermediate steps for industries like roofing and solar power installation.  Being able to visualize rooftops can make roof and solar inspection easier, and the outputs can be loaded into a variety of modeling software and detailed reports can be issued. This saves inspection time and improves safety for inspections by not putting inspectors in danger.

The data collected for these models and point clouds can be used in ARC GIS, Google Earth, Autocad, Sketchup, Sketchfab, and more.  If you have a specific platform you work with for construction modeling, roof modeling, or solar modeling, Big Water UAV Solutions can find a format that will work with your current systems.

Not only can the data be shared directly with our clients, We also utilize Drone Deploy, Measure, Maps Made Easy, and their respective cloud solutions. So models can be easily embedded into your own website if you prefer to showcase your project, or for team members to collaborate on their findings.

Contact us now to get started!

Sample 3D Models

Click the above image for 3D model hosted on Drone Deploy
Large Site 3D Structure Flight Plan
Roof Detailed Image prior to annotation


The two accuracies in aerial mapping are Relative and Absolute

Relative Accuracy is the accuracy that is defined by comparing individual features on a map/reconstructed model/orthomosaic with other features on the same model. For example, two points of the model can be 2 meters away from their real position on the earth but if their relative accuracy is high, then the distance measured between these points will be very accurate as it is related with the relative position of the points.

Absolute Accuracy is the accuracy that is defined by the difference between the location of features on a map/model orthomosaic and their true position on Earth. Survey Grade would be considered Absolute Accuracy. See Our Disclaimer Below.

Big Water UAV Solutions LLC Disclaimer

While Big Water UAV Solutions LLC is capable of aerial data collection, visitors should know that we do not interpret survey grade information.  For projects where exact measurements count, you still need to rely on a licensed land surveyor or survey engineer.  Big Water UAV Solutions LLC can provide data in cooperation with your surveyor, but our data gathering does not replace the need for a licensed land surveyor in any state.  This is not exclusive to our business, all drone data collection services cannot interpret data unless they have a surveyor on staff. 

For more information on Drone Mapping and its Applications please click this link for an in-depth overview from Drone U