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Timing low tide to drone map sea armor in the UK

A common feature along the UK’s coastline, rock walls stand to prevent stormy seas from eroding the shore.

For 80 years, Atkins—a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group and a global consultancy firm—has developed design and engineering expertise around such infrastructure. Five years ago, they began integrating drones into their survey workflows. Recently, they used WingtraOne to survey two stretches of sea wall defense with striking efficiency.

“By using the WingtraOne VTOL fixed-wing, we achieved significant time savings when surveying the sea wall defences,” said James Fleming, Geomatics Consultant at Atkins.

The project involved 2 stretches of “sea armor” together measuring 4 km (2.5 mi).

A big advantage of WingtraOne at one site was that the main take-off and landing site was a small section of beach that was only exposed at low tide. That would have been quite challenging, if not impossible, with a fixed-wing.

James Fleming
Geomatics Consultant at Atkins

Capturing data at a resolution of 2 cm (0.8 in), WingtraOne’s RX1R II camera and high-end PPK plus corridor mapping and terrain following took 15 minutes per km (0.6 mi) stretch. The whole project, plus set-up, took 1.5 hours.

“It was the first time we’ve done it with drones, and the data has been very well received,” Fleming said.

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