Best drones for photogrammetry surveying - WingtraOne vs. other drones

WingtraOne vs. multicopter and fixed-wing drones

Comparison of popular drones for photogrammetry

Since the introduction of the first drones for photogrammetry, the number of manufacturers has increased, and drone technology has been constantly improving.

Each manufacturer claims different data and achievements regarding their drones, mostly focusing on cameras specifications, coverage and flight time. But how do they perform in real life? And how do they compare to each other based on features most important to the user? Read our in-depth reviews of the best drones for photogrammetry in land surveying including image quality tests, coverage results, usability and detailed specifications:

Table of Contents

At Wingtra, we aim at achieving excellence in photogrammetry drone technology. To do so, we constantly compare our own drone to the best ones in the world. As we are collecting this data anyway, we compiled it for you in the form of in-depth, figure-based comparisons.

We admire the achievements of all drone companies and believe that there are many great drones available today. We therefore aim to be as objective and impartial as possible in our reports, knowing that these comparisons will ultimately lead to more innovation among leading companies.

Multicopters vs. fixed-wings for photogrammetry

5 to 14x faster surveying operations with fixed-wings

Multicopters like the DJI Phantom 4 RTK are an obvious choice for entry-level drone surveying because of their lower price tag and ease of use. They do a great job surveying small areas, and they excel at vertical mapping and monitoring small construction sites.

However, when projects scale up, multicopters fall short in their performance. Indeed with a low flight efficiency, they require between 5 and 14x more time than fixed-wing drones to map the same area. The savings made when the drone was purchased are eventually overridden by the costs and time needed for a crew to map such large areas.

All tests performed with coverage at 1.2 cm (0.4in)/px

DJI Phantom 4 RTK

Coverage: 8 ha (20 ac)
GSD: 1.2 cm/px (0.5 in/px)
Altitude: 44 m (144 ft)

eBee X with Aeria / Delair UX11

Coverage: 70 ha (173 ac)
GSD: 1.2 cm/px (0.5 in/px)
Altitude: 57 m (187 ft)

WingtraOne RX1R II

Coverage: 110 ha (272 ac)
GSD: 1.2 cm/px (0.5 in/px)
Altitude: 93 m (305 ft)

Stockpile survey with VTOL fixed-wing vs. DJI Phantom 4

The Idaho Forest Group has so far acquired six WingtraOne hybrid VTOL/fixed-wing drones for the survey of its six massive timber yards. The WingtraOne fleet gathers accurate data in a fraction of the time it took with their multicopter fleet:

We don't think we would really be happy to fly Phantom 4 if we had to collect data on 600 acres. Compare that to Wingtra, where it would be a one-day task only.
Aaron Fisher
Technology and project manager at the Idaho Forest Group

Road construction survey with fixed-wing vs. DJI Phantom 4

Engineers at the Norwegian Road Administration have started flying professional drones for road construction surveying. Prior to WingtraOne, the administration briefly used a Phantom 4 to collect drone data and prove its value. After seeing the benefit in terms of quality and accuracy of data and budget, they started to use a WingtraOne:

For the 1.5 km flight with the Phantom 4, we had five flight plans of 10 to 15 minutes each. And with WingtraOne, we had one single plan that lasted 14 minutes.
Gry C.S. Kjellsmoen
Chief Engineer

Based on the local hourly wage, using a WingtraOne saves them 700 USD and 6.5 hours of work per 5 km of road survey.

Read the full use case

DJI Phantom 4 RTK vs. WingtraOne

So in which case is a multicopter like the Phantom 4 RTK the most appropriate, and at what point should you switch to a professional-level fixed-wing drone?

In this in-depth comparison we explore the usability, coverage, camera specifications and image quality of both mapping drones. We give recommendations about when a Phantom 4 RTK is suitable for your application and when you would be better off with a more professional drone.

Best fixed-wing drones for aerial mapping

WingtraOne vs. fixed-wing drones

Fixed-wings drones by far outrank multicopters in terms of coverage, but they do feature some striking differences among themselves, too.

Depending on your application, you should carefully assess the drones and think about what level of data quality is necessary for your mapping projects. How large is the area? What are the flying conditions? Is the terrain appropriate for belly landings?

We discuss all these aspects and more in the following surveying drone comparisons with eBee and Quantix.

Recommended drone photogrammetry software

Cloud-based photogrammetry software

To turn the collected images from drones into point clouds, orthomosaics and 3D models you will need a photogrammetry software. We recommend 3DR Sitescan, Pix4D, DroneDeploy,, Autodesk, Simactive or Agisoft. Each of these platforms have been tested, and we can vouch for their strong data processing and analytics functionality.

Drone photogrammetry vs. drone LIDAR

LIDAR vs. photogrammetry illustration

Are LIDAR sensors better than photogrammetry? Well it will depend on your application and budget. Learn how LIDAR and photogrammetry work, their strengths and which one is right for your application.

Coverage and labor costs calculator for drone surveying

See how much time and labor costs you’d save when switching to drone surveying with WingtraOne compared to other drones and to terrestrial surveying methods.

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Reproduce the same results

Want to reproduce our results? You can download our test pattern here.

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