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Frequently Asked Questions

In an emerging market, there is a lot of misconception about SUAs. The following FAQs will give a better understanding of the technology.

1. Is your SUA the same type as those purchased as novelty presents?

No, Our SUA is a specialist piece of equipment with the capability of capturing high quality survey grade data in a safe and cost effective manner.

2. Are they safe?

Yes. Our SUA is lightweight (<5kg) and has a number of fail safes included. It can be flown fully automatically or with pilot intervention.

3. Anyone can fly one.

False. In order to fly a SUA commercially you need to be fully certified and licensed by the CAA. If not you are liable to prosecution and risk a fine and/or imprisonment.

A list of current certified operators can be found on the CAA website.

4. What level of accuracies are achievable?

For identifiable detail on hard surfaces, accuracies can be 25mm in plan and 35mm in height. Achieving these accuracies will be reliant on careful flight planning, correct choice of equipment, sufficient ground control and correct data processing/extraction.

At Oakleys we do all our own data processing. As part of our QA system we ensure the person who processes the data is also part of the field team who have collected it.

5. It'll be a lot quicker than traditional methods.

Time on site spent capturing survey data will be significantly reduced: the larger the site the greater the reduction in overall site time.

The reduction in overall project time will depend on the data requirements. Direct outputs, for example point clouds, can be produced relatively quickly. In this case the overall project time reduction will be significant.

For more complex projects, for example requiring the extraction of string lines and incorporation of ground survey, the overall time and cost reduction may be less obvious. However you will always have the benefit of the orthomosaic and a more comprehensive original dataset.

6. Does using a SUA eliminate the need for access to a site?

That depends entirely on the output required. If you only require raw images or a photomosaic for general record purposes then this may well be the case. However if you require accurate ground coordinates then access to the site or its immediate surroundings will be needed for setting out control points and/or inspection of the surface.

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Guide costs

Every site we survey is unique and so it is impossible to give set costs for a type of survey. Below is a summary of the work typically involved in carrying out a project: