Unmanned Aerial Systems

3D view of IronMountain acquired with a UASSmall, pilotless craft are receiving a great deal of attention as platforms for aerial acquisition. Surdex has several UASs which can be used when the circumstances warrant. They are ideal for several purposes:

  • Crop health assessment
  • Large-scale engineering mapping
  • Volumetric inventory
  • Infrastructure inspection
  • Emergency response

UAS are desirable when a project is close to the home base, requires a rapid response, and the project area is relatively small. They are more cost-efficient to mobilize than a full-size aircraft, and missions can be mobilized relatively quickly. A team drives to the project site, programs the unit, and launches it. Even if there are sporadic high altitude clouds, a UAS can fly a few hundred feet above the ground – under clouds that would otherwise prevent a traditional flight, provided shadows are not an issue.

Currently, UASs have sensors that can acquire aerial imagery suitable to produce digital orthoimagery and for 3D modeling; lightweight LiDAR units are now coming on the market and will become available to collect elevation data.


Trimble Gatewing UAS

Trimble Gatewing UAS


Altavian Nova F6500

Altavian Nova F6500 UAS

Provides a stable collection mechanism has a acquisition altitude up to 400 feet; a cruise speed of approximately 40 mph, it can fly up to 45 minutes, giving it the capability of acquiring approximately four square miles of imagery in a single flight. It is used with a Ricoh GRD III digital camera. A typical flight can produce a ground sample distance as small as 2cm, but 5cm is most common. xx A hand-launched craft that is waterproof, lightweight, and all electric. It can fly for up to 90 minutes, giving it the ability to acquire approximately four or more square miles of imagery in a single flight. It is built to function even in extreme conditions, such as sleet or snow, for emergency response missions. The camera is a Canon T2i with 18 megapixel images.  It has the ability to exchange sensors that include thermal images and motion video.


FAA Issued 333 Exemption

Surdex has received a 333 Exemption from the FAA to operate its Altavian Nova F6500 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). This 333 Exemption provides Surdex with a general Certificate of Authorization (COA) to operate UAS under 200 feet throughout the U.S. for the purpose of aerial data collection.

Surdex owns and operates an Altavian Nova UAS for use in large scale aerial mapping applications. This capability will enhance the company’s geospatial data production capabilities by allowing rapid deployment and high resolution products to be generated in a timely and cost effective manner. Surdex is currently expanding this 333 Exemption to include other fixed wing and rotary aircraft.