Aerial Drone Services

Our Drones

GeoAccess operates a well maintained modern fleet of drones for a broad range of aerial services. Some of our favourite craft we fly include;

  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro
  • Yuneec H520
  • DJI Matrice 210RTK

Key features that enhance flight safety:

  • Obstacle detection and avoidance meaning risk of collision is virtually eliminated.
  • Return to Home, a safety feature which activates if the data link to the drone is lost and activates when the battery power level reaches a critical level.
  • Adjustable low battery and critical battery levels with on-screen and audible warning for the pilot, ensuring that sufficient power is available for a safe return and landing.
  • Multiple satellite positioning systems used for enhanced flight accuracy.
  • Dual IMU & Compass systems.
  • 5 rotor fail safe – on the hexacoptors the drone can continue to fly with a motor failure.
  • A collision-resistant carbon-fibre cage, specifically designed for the Phantom 4 range, that allows us to fly safely and with reduced risk in restricted access areas and interior spaces.

Camera and flight-programming:

  • Up to 20-megapixel cameras with 1-inch mechanical shutter, producing super-sharp, high resolution images that can be enlarged significantly without suffering pixilation.
  • Ability to shoot High-Definition video at up to 120 frames/sec and 4K video at up to 60 frames/sec.
  • 30x optical zoom lenses for super closeup images.
  • Thermal and low light cameras.
  • LiDAR payload with 16 channel scanner capturing up to 300,000 points per second.
  • Intelligent Flight Modes, including: point of interest – orbit a selected feature at a radius and speed determined by the pilot; active track – drone will follow a moving object, e.g. person, vehicle; tripod mode – reduces the speed of the drone and the rate of turn to allow smooth and steady shooting of video and photographs; waypoint determined flight path.
  • Compatibility with Drone Harmony, allowing flight-path programming for inspections of buildings/structures and producing cinematic shots when recording video.
  • Compatibility with Drone Deploy and Pix4D for aerial mapping, surveying and 3D modelling.

AERIAL INSPECTIONS

Our pilots, observers and examiners are civil and geotechnical engineers, geologists and structural/earthworks examiners with decades of amassed experience in rail, highways, construction, mining and site/ground investigation. They have received comprehensive training and possess the qualifications, expertise, knowledge and experience to carry out visual and detailed inspections of buildings, structures and infrastructure assets.

We have the means to produce reports at a variety of levels, depending upon client requirements, from basic factual to comprehensive interpretive. Our particular strength is working within the rail sector. These capabilities are readily transferable to a broad range of sectors and form the core of our UAV Inspection Services.

STRUCTURES, BUILDINGS, EARTHWORKS & ROCK FACES

GeoAccess can offer a stand-alone drone inspection service and integrated drone plus rope access teams, depending upon the type of asset and the requirements of the inspection. Our flight crews and rope access technicians are from similar professional backgrounds and have shared knowledge and experience, allowing them to work together seamlessly.

UAV only inspections:

  • Rapid deployment
  • Sufficient batteries for over 2 hours of flight time
  • Safer working with significant reduction of risk
  • Initial and detailed inspections can be undertaken
  • Urgent defects can be quickly identified and reported
  • Areas requiring tactile inspections identified at an early stage
  • Identification of specific locations requiring rope access inspection teams
  • Site risk assessment prior to deployment of rope access teams
Integrated UAV and rope access:

  • Improved utilisation of rope access teams
  • Teams can focus on specific locations identified by UAV
  • Efficient planning and execution of tactile examinations
  • Safer working and reduction of risk using drone to provide a safety overwatch and monitor teams at work

INTERIOR, RESTRICTED ACCESS & CONFINED SPACES

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro can be mounted inside a spherical, lightweight, collision-resistant carbon-fibre cage for use in interior spaces where access is restricted and in confined spaces where the access point is wide enough to accommodate the cage. Up to three light sources (Lume Cubes) can be mounted on the frame that holds the drone in place to provide illumination in poorly lit environments. The cage provides an additional layer of safety and reduces the risk of damage to the drone and the subject being inspected.
The caged drone can be used for:

  • Inspecting interior structural steelwork, particularly roof and canopy support
  • Inspection of pipework, valves, conduits and cables at height and in restricted access areas
  • Inspections of silos and tanks
  • Bridge, tunnel and culvert inspections
  • Performing safety checks in deep excavations, underground mining and tunnelling operations
  • Interior inspections of derelict and dilapidated buildings prior to demolition to ensure personnel can enter safely

2D Mapping & 3D Modelling

Our Principal Pilot has successfully completed a dedicated drone mapping course given by an ex-Royal Air Force aerial imaging and spatial analyst with 25 years of knowledge and experience, and possessing certifications and accreditations in this highly specialist field. We can now offer 2D mapping (ortho-mosaics) at various levels of resolution, with high relative accuracy and export in several file formats such as GeoTIFF, JPEG and PDF, depending upon client requirements. 3D models can be viewed in Sketch Fab and embedded directly in a webpage. Point clouds can be created from the 3D models and exported as LAS files for use in CAD software.
Applications of ortho-mosaics:

  • An overview of large roof areas for commercial, industrial and retail premises to aid in inspections
  • Reconnaissance of land for site investigation: access points, limited clearance, traffic routes, compound and laydown area selection, waste/fly-tipping, areas of surface contamination, poorly drained ground
  • Pre-construction/site set-up stage: access points, limited clearance, traffic routes, locating site offices and parking areas
  • Construction: site layout planning, documenting construction progress, materials and waste storage area selection and monitoring, identifying on-site issues such as traffic route degradation, housekeeping, drainage problems
  • Demolition: planning and visualisation, access, progress monitoring, recyclable and non-recyclable waste segregation and stockpiling
  • Relative measurements of length, area and volume
Applications of 3D models:

  • Earthwork, slope and rock face failures: determine causes and mechanisms involved; planning of repair/remedial works
  • Construction: documenting construction progress, model of the completed build
  • Demolition: visualisation of building/structure to aid in planning, methodology and risk assessment
  • Visualisation for promotional and marketing purposes
  • Generation of dense point clouds for use in CAD software

LiDAR

LiDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging is a technology that is based on laser beams. It requires a sensor to shoot out laser pulses and measures the time it takes for the light to return.

The main product of a LiDAR survey is a 3D point cloud. The density of the point cloud depends on the sensor characteristics (scan frequency and repetition rate), as well as the flight parameters. Assuming that the scanner is pulsing and oscillating at a fixed rate, the point cloud density depends on the flight altitude and speed of the aircraft.

Unlike photogrammetry, LiDAR surveys have the ability to “see through vegetation” and can produce digital terrain models, as well as digital surface models.

Our state of the art LiDAR sensor can be attached to our UAVs to provide centimetre level accuracy.

THERMAL SURVEYS

Using a state of the art thermal sensor coupled with a low light 1080P camera 20x more sensitive than the human eye, our drones are capable of performing thermal surveys in a variety of demanding situations including;

  • Search and rescue
  • Heat loss surveys
  • Hotspot inspections

Plant Health Mapping

Visible-spectrum images captured by the drone can be used to produce plant health maps using the Visible Atmospheric Resistant Index (VARI). Used in conjunction with a high-resolution 2D ortho-mosaic this enables a snapshot of the health and condition of a wide range of vegetation types to be obtained in relatively short time. The maps are a powerful tool for agronomists, farmers and growers to locate areas of concern quickly and allow ground-truthing to determine the problems and remedy the situation in much quicker time and make significant cost-savings.
Plant health maps can be exported as several file formats, including shapefile (.shp) for use in agricultural software; GeoTIFF for GIS and JPEG for general viewing.

  • Agriculture
  • Forestry & woodland management
  • Site investigation – surface and shallow contamination affecting plant health (phytotoxic metals and substances)

Flight Safety

The flight crews have extensive experience of working in hazardous environments, including the railway, construction sites and opencast mines. Our approach to hazard identification, risk assessment, control of risk and safely operating our UAV reflects this experience and we pride ourselves in ensuring that a thorough and comprehensive site assessment is conducted prior to commencement of a project.

In the first instance GeoAccess will undertake an initial discussion with the client to determine if an operation is feasible. As part of the feasibility study process, the following will be utilised to determine the feasibility of the intended tasks:

  • A detailed brief of the project – outlining the scope and desired deliverables – will be obtained from the client
  • The brief will assist in determining the requirements and resources to undertake the flight safely and successfully, and if it is feasible to do so in the first place
  • The majority of considerations relating to the site will be addressed by utilising web-based resources, including: Bing & Google Maps; Drone Safety Map; NATS-AIS and Sky Demon; site-specific information will be provided by the client
  • Date and time-frame the client wishes the project to be completed (allows investigation of any additional variables that may affect the project)
  • Site location and site access

Once both parties are satisfied that the operation is possible, GeoAccess will request that the client accompany them on the site survey to identify hazards and assess associated risks. The risk control measures required will be discussed with the client to ensure all parties have input and are satisfied with the type and levels of control to be implemented. A Method Statement & Risk Assessment will be prepared and submitted to the client for approval. The Method Statement & Risk Assessment is available to all concerned parties, including stakeholders, site management and supervisors. If required, a briefing sheet for broad distribution (when working on large sites) can be produced to provide contact details of the flight-crew and information on the flight. Tool-box talks can also be given.

Flight crews

GeoAccess pilots hold the required Remote Pilot Qualifications as issued by a recognised, and Civil Aviation Authority approved, National Qualified Entity, following the successful completion of Ground School, passing the Flight Theory exam and Flight Safety Assessment. We hold the Standard Permission for Commercial Operations issued by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our pilots are dual role and the second pilot assumes the role of observer when we operate as a two-person flight crew. Additional crew members, such as spotters (reporting to the observer) are utilised when working on large sites or in open areas to provide additional safety measures during flight operations.

PfCO No 6887