Unmaned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones as they are commonly called, have proved hugely beneficial to the archaeological sector and we were quick to see the advantages of being able to deploy our own aerial reconnaissance. Having used drones for the last few years, we employ the technology to assist with a variety of services that we offer. These include Heritage Impact Assessments, Historic Building Recording, monument survey, landscape survey and excavation.
For Heritage Impact Assessments, understanding the wider context of a site is critical in determining the significance of heritage assets and capturing aerial perspectives is an extremely valuable tool in achieving this. Likewise, drones can reach views of buildings and monuments that would otherwise be difficult to attain from the ground and survey flight plans can be pre-programmed in the office to capture a variety of aspects. This can be particularly useful when generating 3D models of heritage assets.
Creating orthogonal views of a site has also proved a valuable tool in identifying subtle earthworks and producing detailed excavation plans. For landscape surveys, we pre-programme flight plans to take an array of vertical images at set traverses across a site which are then meshed to create a single vertical image. By combining this with additional oblique images, we can also produce ‘heat maps’ to distinguish relief as well as true colour and greyscale images to create 3D vistas that can be manipulated to help identify subtle earthworks. With the help of ground control points, we also use orthogonal images to produce highly accurate excavation plans which can either be used a standalone archive document or as a basis for digitistation away from the field.
Context One is a registered organisation with the Civil Aviation Authority and holds a current Flyer ID.