Prepare your mission - Part 2
Prepare your mission to get the best data from your UAV
In our last chapter we talked about the top list of important preparations before each mission. With our UAV term overview you now have the chance to understand UAV discussions and planning procedures much faster. In our new chapter we will guide you through the pre-mission preparations and will help to set up a standard workflow for your daily business.
No UAV mission without a map – how to get planning data for your next job
- Check for possibility to fly with an UAV
Whenever you will plan an UAV mission you need detailed information on the flight area. With the address of the area you can get the GPS data by using online tools such as http://www.gps-coordinates.net/ or http://www.mapcoordinates.net/en to get positions in latitude, longitude and altitude. Altitude information are very important to double check the possibility to fly. Most of the professional UAV can fly up to 1,500m above sea level minimum. Beyond this altitude some UAV will not start flying due to restrictions in flight control or firmware.Prohibited airspace
Another limitation are possible restricted areas or no-fly zones. Detailed information on such areas are available via all regional aviation authorities. Some of the restricted areas are visualised in NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) and will be available via http://notaminfo.com/ for Europe, https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/PilotWeb/ for the United States via the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) website and http://tfrvisualizer.com/ for temporary flight restrictions in the U.S.. General information on no-fly zones and prohibited airspace for UAV are available on http://www.noflydrones.co.uk/ for United Kingdom, http://bit.ly/1RVfn3Q for Germany via DFS (Deutsche Flugsicherung) or http://bit.ly/2hhKorR as Google Earth integration, https://app.airmap.io/ for AIRMAP’s global service or http://www.dronevolt.com/en/no-fly-zone-en/ for a quick overview on some of the most relevant airports. But restricted areas can be much more than just airports. Depending on regional regulations, prohibited airspace exists over cities, around governmental buildings and areas, near military areas, next to infrastructure such as power stations, railroads, highways, mines, rivers or national parks. To be sure you are not planning to fly in prohibited airspace always get in contact with the regional aviation authority. A list of the civil aviation authorities is available on Wikipedia http://bit.ly/2gGBZO9.GPS and GNSS support
Geotagged data is only possible with GPS or GNSS support. Some areas may have weak GPS or GNSS signals or won’t get access to real-time GNSS correction data services such as Leica SmartNet or other RTK (real time kinematic) and GNSS service provider. With solutions such as the Aibotix RTK/GNSS Aibot HP GNSS 2 it is possible to work with GNSS post processing or a GNSS base station such as Leica Viva GS16, a very compact GNSS smart antenna which works with Leica Captivate software.
Areas with weak GPS or GNSS signal quality can be mines, stockpiles, bridges, forests, valleys, canyons, dams, huge buildings or areas in the desert. For photogrammetric workflows it is possible to work without GPS or GNSS data but the processing time will be much longer. Since Aibotix is offering geotagging with millisecond time-tagging accuracy for all sensors, it is always recommended to capture data only with GPS or GNSS support.
GCP (ground control points) and KML (keyhole markup language) files
The highest accuracy and precision always depends on perfect site preparation and flight planning. Since most of the results of your UAV mission will be digital only, KML files and the choice of the correct geodetical system are very important. Ask your customer for the local coordinate system.
Coming to accuracy and precision, GCP are always recommended. Again, the Leica Viva GS16 will help you to set ground control points if it is necessary. Some of your customers may already have some ground control points with accurate location information. It is very important that all GCP you want to use are visible from above. Your photogrammetry software will ask you to set the point manually in post processing. If you need support with your first photogrammetry mission and the work with GCP do not hesitate to contact our support team.
2.Prepare your UAV mission
A pilot without insurance bears all the risks. Even if insurance is not part of the demands of regional legal authorities, we cannot recommend flying without insurance. The insurance sum should be orientated on the regional recommendations for liability insurances but has to be over 1 million US$ or Euro. In the U.S., insurance companies will take between 600 and 800 US$ to cover liability of 1 million US$. Companies such as Verifly offer special hourly rates for liability insurances. In Europe companies such as CoverDrone or Allianz offer special ‘drone insurances’.
In most regions you have to be a certified pilot if you want to use UAV as a professional. Get in contact with your regional civil aviation authority to get all details on how to become certified and to get information on the next certification center. Aibotix offers standardised UAV pilot trainings. In Asia, Australia and some regions in Europe these trainings are well accepted and will help you to get your license faster. Authorities are always asking for experiences and total flight time. Our practice oriented training will help to get hours of flight time as well as the most important basic knowledge.
Weather, wind and precipitation – the UAV pilot’s most important information
When it comes to weather forecast, the latest information will be the best. For most of your missions you need forecast information to plan the next five to ten days. Aibotix recommends planning procedures in three steps: long-term, medium-term and short-term.
Long-term planning is possible with tools like Accu Weather’s extended forecast or Netweather. For medium-term planning you can use most of the regional weather forecast websites or the forecast of your local TV or radio station. Short-term and aviation specific weather information are available on https://www.aviationweather.gov/ or http://www.flyingineurope.be/aviation_weather_maps.htm. Another useful tool is Windytv which is available on the website or as smartphone app.
In our next chapter we will guide you through the last checks before you fly.