TOPODRONE Launches AQUAMAPPER Airborne Bathymetric Surveying Solution

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

At global mapping show INTERGEO this week, LiDAR equipment company TOPODRONE has launched AQUAMAPPER, a UAV-based solution for bathymetric surveying and marine construction. Bathymetric surveying is the underwater equivalent of topographic surveying, mapping the floor of rivers, lakes and oceans. The new multitasking data collecting device has been successfully deployed alongside TOPODRONE LiDAR ULTRA equipment for the airborne surveying of a Romanian highway construction project in order to provide a digital twin of a scanned area.

The new AQUAMAPPER hardware integrates with other technology to form a comprehensive set of photogrammetry, LiDAR and bathymetry surveying solutions. Upon being mounted to a UAV, AQUAMAPPER offers high speed efficiency (up to 14 km/h) and accuracy. The PPK ready solution is also compatible with DJI Matrice 300 RTK. The hardware can be deployed for a wide range of use cases, including an open sea bathymetric survey up to 100m depth, quantity survey and calculation of sediments, and periodic maintenance survey of storage pools.

TOPODRONE AQUAMAPPER and LiDAR ULTRA have been deployed in an airborne surveying mission at “Autostrada Sibiu – Pitești, Secțiunea 2: Boița – Cornetu”, a European road construction project. The project seeks to construct a highway in one of Romania’s most rugged environments, and incorporates 7 tunnels, 24 bridges and 18 viaducts. The drone LiDAR corridor and bathymetric survey was conducted by Romanian company GRAPHEIN TOPO SA in order to produce accurate maps and current information regarding terrain level, buildings, roads, power line networks, cadastral boundaries, and rivers. TOPODRPONE’s LiDAR ULTRA was deployed on board a DJI M300 drone, and was utilized to collect laser scanning data from 100 – 120 meters above the forested terrain, covering a 32 km long and 400 meters wide corridor over the course of 14 flights. At the same time, AQUAMAPPER hardware attached to the same drone conducted a bathymetry survey over 6 river crossings.

“The key advantage of the new bathymetric equipment from TOPODRONE is the ability to capture a riverbed with centimeters level accuracy with high speed in fully automatic mode and without using any boat. It allows us to work in hard to access and shallow water areas,” said Andrei Sueran, GRAPHEIN TOPO SA. “The same drone carrier can be used for both LiDAR & bathymetry surveys. The combination of an echosounder, GNSS and inertial measurement system helps to get accurate results after data post processing.”

Read more about drone payloads for aquatic missions:

Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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