• Chris

How accurate is drone data: Stockpile volumetrics using drone technology

Updated: Aug 27, 2020


The accuracy of drone data often comes into question, so Vantage wanted to measure this for ourselves and prove its reliability when used correctly. One of our clients approached us to test this with a salt pile, which had already been weighed and delivered by their supplier. This task presented opportunities for both sides - Creating a faster and more effective method of monitoring stock levels for our client, whilst also giving us a way to test the accuracy of drone data by comparing our results with existing measurements,


Our client was interested in the benefits of using drone technology in order to monitor their salt use more closely. Their current method accounted for every truck's load leaving the depot, in order to determine the amount of salt used. This did not however take into account any overstock which returned from a salt spreading route. Any unused salt was then just added back into the main pile without being weighed. They wanted a more accurate representation of how much salt was being used on routes which took into account any overstock. In order for this to be viable, they first needed to check the accuracy of the drone data. As relative accuracy was the only requirement, no ground control points were needed.

Drone Digital Elevation Model
From above: A Digital Elevation Map.


Using a drone to map an area and supply data is a lot faster than traditional methods. They can be pre-programmed to quickly and easily fly over areas and gather images - these images can be processed using photogrammetry to calculate volumes and

measurements, making this a quick, efficient and cost effective way of surveying multiple stockpiles. Having accurate and up to date data can then be used to monitor more effectively how much salt is needed for specific routes, refining future orders and enabling more effective budgeting.


The calculated results showed that Vantage had an accuracy of within 0.38% - a testament to the quality of data captured. With a short turnaround of 1 hour on site to capture the imagery and processing being possible on the same day, the results can be delivered within 24 hours. Overall, the project demonstrated the massive time saving and potential cost savings by utilising drones within workflows.


If you'd like to know more about using drones to benefit your business, please get in touch - info@vantagedrones.co.uk

Vantage is insured, holds a PfCO and has additional permissions to operate closer to structures and people out side of our control.