Drone and Remote Sensing Capabilities at KCB

March 5, 2021   |  

Over the past three years, KCB has been expanding our implementation of drone and remote sensing technologies to improve project deliverables, help clients and stakeholders visualize sites, and identify potential site issues from different vantage points. Currently, we are operating drones for a variety of projects and clients, from railways to roads and highways, to hydroelectric facilities.

Drone Mapping

Since 2018 KCB has been using two drones, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, and the DJI Mavic Pro with experienced and licensed drone operators. Both drones feature 20 megapixel cameras capable of capturing 4k video with 30 minutes of flight time on a single battery.

DJI Drones – Phantom 4 Pro (Left) Mavic Pro (Right)

These drones combined with KCB’s suite of photogrammetry software, ArcGIS Drone2Map, allow us to process the data and deliver the output to clients efficiently through software that is widely used in the industry without the need to convert file types. This technology allows the creation of both 2D and 3D models of project sites which can be georeferenced using the drones' built-in GPS, or with Ground Control Points (GCPs) for improved accuracy.

3D Photogrammetry Model of Railway Bridge

KCB has also implemented photogrammetry rock slope mapping using 3DM Analyst software with terrestrial and aerial drone photos. This has decreased KCB’s time spent in the field and allowed us to remotely collect information of areas which might otherwise be unsafe to map. Combining this tool with traditional field mapping techniques allows for the collection of much larger data sets which can be analyzed by a variety of geotechnical software.

Project Examples

Rock Face Mapping

KCB has conducted several photogrammetry rock slope mapping projects for transportation and hydroelectric clients. Photogrammetry rock slope mapping has allowed us to map areas which would otherwise require specialized training to access or would be too dangerous to access by people, including cliff faces or areas made inaccessible by rockfall hazard. Additionally, being able to combine photogrammetry mapping with traditional field mapping allows for a collection of larger data sets and a calibration tool for the photogrammetry models. KCB continues to push the capabilities of these mapping techniques and photogrammetry mapping has become an important part of rock slope assessments on projects.

Rock face mapping using 3DM Analyst

Construction Monitoring and Change Detection

The ability to conduct change detection by flying an area quickly and repeatedly allows KCB to help track project schedules and volumes during construction. This allows clients to obtain visual checks on construction progress without having to travel to the site, and assists in the QA process. This technology can also be used in monitoring geohazards, such as landslides, and track movement of surfaces over an extended time period. For the application of landslides, understanding the active areas of movement help our engineers focus where mitigation measures may be required.

Volumetric Change Detection for Linear Infrastructure Construction

Flying into the Future

In 2021, KCB has expanded our drone and remote sensing capabilities with the acquisition of the new DJI Matrice 210 RTK V2 along with a GNSS base station for improved accuracy without needing additional surveying for ground control points. With these increased accuracies and capabilities KCB is poised to improve on existing services provided to clients, including increased accuracy for change detection for volumetric calculation and geohazard monitoring and assessments. Additionally, our team is continually looking to add new services and capabilities for our clients based on their feedback and project needs.

RTK Communication Lines

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