How large area can be scanned from one drone if the drone doesn't move? In other words how much aerial photography data can be obtained from one drone with fixed position?

I'm talking about classical drones which are used by geo/construction.. companies, not some high tech ones...

I'm not asking about some exact number. Also, I understand that the area size depends on drone altitude. But what if we consider only some routine case with "normal altitude"?

  • 1
    I don't understand the difference between "classical drone" and a "high tech one." A classical one might not have a good enough camera to be able to georeference the resulting photos to good enough accuracy. Amount of display will depend on camera and altitude plus there's operational limits imposed by governments... – mkennedy Dec 13 '16 at 18:24
  • @mkennedy classical drone: you can buy it on Internet, companies use them in business regulary vs high tech drone: military/scientific drone - you cannot buy it, or you can but you have to sell your company first. Concerning altitude, I'm interested about some reasonable altitude, not close to some limit... – Fido Dec 13 '16 at 18:31
  • 1
    Have a look at the article five steps to making a map with small drones and see if you want to instead select a desired GSD (resolution) and from that it leads to altitude which then leads to the area that can be covered from that altitude. – SaultDon Dec 13 '16 at 18:34
  • 1
    Welcome to GIS SE. As a new user please take the Tour. The Don't Ask page states "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face." By genericizing the altitude, you're shifting this more to a hypothetical question. – Vince Dec 13 '16 at 18:38
  • 1
    There are companies making drones for photogrammetry and surveying-related uses. They're pricey (5-6 figures?) but available. Part of the cost is the software that adjusts for camera distortion, etc. – mkennedy Dec 13 '16 at 18:40

It depends on two main factors:

  • Fly height, which determines the GSD (ground sampling distance, which is the distance between pixel centers). This parameter, despite the performance of your aircraft, could have a maximum value, restricted by the legislation in your country (In Chile is 400 ft ~ 122 m).

  • Camera resolution and FOV (field of view), because the covered area is depending on the number of pixels in each image, as well as, the possible correction that you need to perform to remove the distortion present in image edges.

Also, the app that you use for capturing the images could restrict the maximum covered area, based on the distance from the origin point and the battery autonomy.

I have used both, Phantom 2 Vision Plus and Phantom 3 Advanced, and I can tell you, at 100 meters height, you can cover at maximum 2.6 and 2.2 hectares per image, respectively. The value indicated for PV2+ is lower after correction due to its fisheye lens.

In my work (forestry), we developed several tests, and we obtained when 80% of overlap is used, an average of 3 and 10 orthocorrected hectares per flight (approximately 10 min), for P2V+ and P3A, respectively. We used Pix4DCapture app to colect the images.

| improve this answer | |
  • Also depends on flight time! – Nikos May 2 '17 at 21:51

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.