How TraceAir Delivers Site Intelligence on Mega Projects

TraceAir captures fast, accurate site data on large projects like master-planned communities.
TraceAir delivers fast, accurate data on even the largest of projects.
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TraceAir serves a variety of project types and sizes that range from less than 3-acre school campuses to master planned communities that span over 4,800 acres. Small projects allow operational flexibility, but capturing a mega project has special project requirements. Here's how our operations teams deliver site intelligence on massive project developments.

We used fixed-wing drones on large projects

On smaller projects, our pilots can use quadcopter drones, however projects over 1,500 acres require the use of fixed-wing drones. Using this type of drone covers longer distances and maps larger areas at a much faster rate.

PPK processing captures more data, faster

On smaller project sites, it's possible and reasonable to use Ground Control Points (GCPs), which offer survey-quality accuracy. These points are strategically placed throughout the site to georeference the drone-based site model accurately. On large projects, using only this method is impractical because placing and maintaining the GCPs on a regular basis is time consuming.

On large or very remote sites where GCPs are not possible, Post-Processed Kinematic (PPK) is the preferred method of capturing data. Without getting overly technical, PPK allows for receiving accurate locations of each picture captured by the drone in the air during the flight. This results in not needing GCPs to georeference the ultimate site model. The processing time is longer due to the increased area to be captured and the corresponding increased number of images. While PPK drones themselves and the additional processing costs are more expensive, this method is highly accurate on large projects and pays off when the scans are performed on a regular (weekly) basis.

We employ GCPs for extra quality assurance

Even though GCPs are not necessary to georeference the site model when using the PPK approach, TraceAir still employs some flight markers on the ground to run deep quality assurance for each data sample. There is nothing more objective to evaluate the vertical accuracy of the scan than to run the topo check by comparing the elevations of the visible objects (GCPs) on the site model to the actual GPS topo shots of the same points.

We also run additional quality assurance procedures for each scan including the comparison of the ultimate surface to the previous scan or the original ground surface in the areas that stayed intact, and to the design grade in the finished areas. This comprehensive analysis reduces the risk of inaccuracies of the drone-based topo and squeezes into construction workflows without interrupting operations on the ground. In case any errors or inaccuracies are found, it's easy to be able to locate the GCPs and still get the most from the collected data.

The Bottom Line

Aside from safety, delivering the most accurate data is TraceAir's biggest priority to our clients. We take extra measures to ensure that the quality of our data is not compromised even on the largest of projects. Our ultra-fast processing still delivers this large quantity of data on a mega project in 24-48 hours without diminishing the level of quality.

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