Drones are the future of Marine Surveying.
Drones are quickly becoming a staple of the maritime industry. In January, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) issued the largest ever civilian maritime drone contact, valued at €67 million. Under the contract, drones will be used to assist with border control, search-and-rescue operations and monitoring of pollution, as well as the detection of illegal fishing and drug and people trafficking.
External Vessel Inspections. Traditional methods of external vessel inspection can be a costly affair and time consuming to say the least. Until now, as UAV drones have better high resolution cameras than ever before. It’s more common for UAV drones to be used to perform external vessel inspections to assess structural conditions such as substantial corrosion, fractures. Aerial inspections to cargo tanks can be done within a fast timeframe, whilst removing the element of risk or harm to people.
An aerial inspection is very quick to do and imagery can be sent to yourselves or your surveyor within a day.
Note: We work alongside Surveyors and engineers, but we ourselves are not qualified surveyors.
We use a Mavic Pro 2 with a mounted Hasselblad camera. This has a superior Sony sensor; better than than that of DJI’s standard drone gimbal cameras, and this one in particular has a 1-inch sensor with 14 stops of dynamic range with RAW capability. We carry our CAA certification for PfCO (Permission for commercial operations) with us, along with safety equipment which is a legal requirement, such as a small fire extinguisher, a drone-landing pad, safety cones, fire blanked and a high vis jacket as standard.
Aerial surveys require careful strategic planning, studying the specific objective, the intention, the method in which we
plan and prepare the drone flight, administration of safety checks and flight plans and the communication with a flight observer on the ground.
- An observation is first undertaken of the area, to check for any hazards in the air and on the ground in a radius around the perimeter. If the area is within radius of a protected airspace such as an airport, we’ll contact the nearby ATC and attempt to gain clearance (this part can take up to 10 days).
• A flight plan is prepared, taking into the area to be surveyed, with a NOTAM to be established for the given time and day of flight. We’ll also check wind speed and direction, take-off and landing areas (entry and exit points) and even check ordnance survey maps and Google maps to ensure there are no hidden problems.
• This requires experience and skill to ensure the data is captured to the correct specification and safely.
• We’ll turn up on site on the planned day and plan a short on-site observation. This will be to check the pre-flight assessment was accurate and to tune situational awareness onto the project.
• I’ll provide a short briefing of the flight objectives and brief you on any hazards and procedures that may occur.
• We’ll get the necessary images and/or footage of the objective and land safely.
• The images will be downloaded from the UAV and processed. These can be sent to you or your surveyor within the same day.