Is it possible to use a small remote controlled jeep or truck - 18" long or so - with some kind of GPS device attached to it to gather data for a detailed topo map of a 2 acre parcel that I just bought?

I was thinking of putting the GPS device in the car and driving it all over the property. There is a lot of mesquite on the property, weeds, etc.

closed as too broad by Andre Silva, Vince, nmtoken, HDunn, LaughU Jan 2 at 7:51

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    Possibly, but not with a standard commercial GPS unit. You would need dGPS at least to have any kind of accuracy. You might also need to work on the suspension - I did a project years ago where someone mounted a terrestrial scanner on a truck and drove for ~100km and the data was useless as the truck bounced up and down in the potholes. It's not impossible, I saw an article of a robot detecting weed species in a paddock of much greater size but it certainly wasn't a hobby-shop remote. Also consider the range of the remote, you will need to walk with it to stay in range or you might lose it. – Michael Stimson Dec 31 '18 at 7:33
  • @MichaelStimson this is more of an answer than a comment – Ian Turton Dec 31 '18 at 12:03
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    It sounds like you intend to use the car to capture elevation data, is that right? Have you checked to see if there is any publicly available elevation data for your area? You would probably get better data that way than by driving an RC car around the property. – Dan C Dec 31 '18 at 13:41
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    it might be quicker and more accurate to hire a surveyor (or drone operator with lidar) you can rent these to collect very accurate data blueskiesdronerental.com/lidar-sensors – Mapperz Dec 31 '18 at 14:14

The limitation in that case sounds more it would be in th RC car, vs the GPS equipment. You'd have to find one that can navigate the terrain, and support whatever equipment you choose to put on it. But even then, what if it gets stuck? You still have to go in on foot and retrieve it. Is your property really only 2 acres? You could pretty easily do the same thing on foot, probably in less than a day, depending on how close you space your sample points, etc.

Someone suggested the alternatives in the comments:

  1. Hire a surveyor (would probably get you much more accurate data and might be cheaper, depending on what equipment you already have).

  2. Hire a drone operator / buy a drone and fly yourself. You don't need one with LiDAR to get DEMs, there are plenty of services out there with free trials that will generate a fairly accurate surface from photos taken with the drone.

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