Aerial Analytics

    The Site Scan best fit base plane gives precise fill volumes.

    3D Robotics announced that its Site Scan drone-based aerial analytics platform can now calculate cut and fill volumes directly without exporting drone data into other platforms. Cut and fill analysis provides the information needed to effectively grade and level a jobsite and prepare it for construction. An accurate cut and fill helps save time and money, reduce risk, and better manage resources onsite, the company said.

    Calculating a cut and fill properly, however, has long been a time-consuming process, with significant time spent in the field performing a topographic survey and back in the office analyzing the data. While drone surveying has significantly reduced time onsite, calculating cut and fill volumes has still been needlessly complex; it requires using multiple tools and specialized earthworks software.

    Site Scan users can open the app and with the tap of a button get precise, actionable volume measurements. Site Scan’s cut and fill calculations are based on data collected by the Sony R10C drone camera and three base planes available that account for the underlying terrain: lowest point, highest point, and best fit.

    The lowest point base plane finds the lowest elevation in the vertexes of a boundary and creates the base plane from that point. This is best suited for stockpiles on a flat surface — or with walls or other stockpiles nearby — that users plan to cut.

    The highest point plane will work from the highest vertex of the boundary, and is appropriate in cases where users plan to fill, such as a trench, hole, or ditch.

    The best fit base plane, which is the default plane in Site Scan, automatically determines the most appropriate fit for the selected area.

    Integration with Pix4D

    3DR also announced that it integrated Site Scan with Pix4D, a photogrammetry processing engine, to help users create more accurate and detailed data products. Site Scan is already integrated with the Autodesk ReCap processing engine, so with the addition of Pix4D the company is now offering multi-engine photogrammetry processing for data products.

    According to 3DR, multi-engine processing, combined with the high-resolution photos from Site Scan’s Sony R10C camera, delivers results that consistently rival LiDAR and traditional surveying when it comes to accuracy. With this combination, one of 3DR’s customers was able to achieve accuracy levels within a tenth of an inch of terrestrial LiDAR.

    The company said that it also made improvements that deliver processed data three times faster, allowing users to process five times more photos at once — 2,500 photos in total.

    Infrastructure inspection

    A new flight mode called Inspect Mode allows users to fly Site Scan manually and take high-resolution, geotagged photos of infrastructure and assets such as bridges, dams, cell towers, cranes, and more. Inspect Mode keeps fields crews safe on the ground while capturing jobsite details and making it easy to monitor and share progress. The 20.1MP Sony R10C camera includes an E-mount 3X optical zoom lens with image stabilization to help take the best photos possible.

    Information provided by 3D Robotics (