Smart drone technology to capture high resolution terrain modelling and volumetrics and spectral information
We provide aerial data services for assessing crop health, plant vigour, potential yield, weeds, pests, diseases and most importantly to enable farmers to make strategic decisions at every stage of production.
The advantages of using drones
We start with the outcome in mind to provide high level, high quality, decision making information for the client to act on.
Drone Agricultural Applications
Soil type mapping
Water point data collection
The right equipment
Fixed Wing UAVs. Fixed-wing UAVs are the best choice to survey a lot of ground, fast. The SciAero FarScight can cover up to 10 times the acreage that a typical quadcopter can cover in a single flight and captures the same survey-grade 3D / topographic detail that a quadcopter does. Fixed wing drones often carry more payload than a multi-rotor – which means more sensors – so more information can be captured in a single flight. These are typically used for broadacre crops such as wheat, barley, canola, sugar cane and sorghum.
Multirotors. A multirotor drone is a better choice than a fixed wing drone for close-in, precision, surveying spotting and tasks in precision agriculture. In precision agriculture, the goal of producing maximum yield is achieved by minimising variability of crop health within, and across, paddocks. Multi rotors are ideal for spot-checking known weak areas and trouble spots more closely. So, multi rotors are typically used for used for high value crops such as vineyards and stone fruit orchards where, for example, irrigation leak or blockage detection is critical.
The Tradeoffs. Flying a multi rotor drone, low and slow, gives you far more control over every image shot. As a result, accuracy and resolution are often better than fixed wing UAVs can deliver. The trade-off is far less range and coverage per flight. Most multi rotor ag drones can’t cover more than 50 acres between charges / battery swaps.
SciAero has a range of sensors to capture visual, thermal/IR and multispectral, data down to a 2cm/pixel resolution. Hyperspectral and LIDAR sensors are also available from other service providers. When combined with truth of soil data, repeat flight data can be collated to track crop changes, the changes needed can then be quantified and costed.
Data Processing. Having captured the imagery, it is then processed to create survey quality contour and 3D maps, digital surface and terrain models, geotagged vegetation index maps, plant counts, plant height, moisture levels, soil temp and orthomosaics. That’s a lot of data processing producing outputs that a home PC probably can’t do, so SciAero can provide that as a service on site, at a farm, or overnight in the cloud if a datalink is available.
The Outputs. The index maps then generate prescription maps which can then be uploaded to the FMIS system or seeder, spreader, tractor, combine harvester or header for sowing, watering, fertilising, nitrogen optimisation, weed control yield monitoring and harvest timing. The data can be further processed using other index map solutions such as SMS, AgPixel, ArcGIS, and other GIS systems to produce other data ‘layers’.
Altitude Imaging has been providing professional aerial drone services since 2012.
We are Certified, Accredited and Approved to national and international standards.