WHAT IS RTK & DO I NEED IT ON MY DRONE?
It seems there’s a new buzz word in the drone world and everyone is jumping on the band wagon. With the world’s biggest drone manufacturer DJI recently releasing their version in September this year (2017) we are 100% sure that 2018 will be the year of RTK (Real Time Kinematics) drones. So what’s the big deal you may be asking? well, in a nut shell, accuracy is at the core of RTK machines. Using a RTK system will enhance the precision of the position data from the satellite global navigation systems such as GNSS, GPS, CLONASS, GALILEO & BEIDOU. The main difference from a technical point of view, in lay mans terms is that RTK uses the phase of the carrier wave commonly referred to at carrier-phase enhancement rather than the information content of the signal. The other main difference is the addition of a ground control point; firmly fixed on the ground at a precise location, used as a known fixed reference point. RTK heavily relies on a strong real time data link between the UAV making the measurements and at least one other GNSS receiver providing reference data. Differential GPS corrections can only be applied in the field as long as a the data link is maintained. This critical data link is required to communicate with the satellite constellation as well as having a fixed ground referencing point to effectively reduce and remove common positioning errors and increase accuracy by a significant factor.
With a RTK system we now have real-time processing on the go and constant corrections to the UAV as it’s in the air working. Real time geo tagging which also massively reduces post data processing in the office and most importantly we have surveyor grade accuracy sub 3cm without the need for multiply control points at the site. This new system can save a huge amount of time and costs associated with the tedious task of having to lay the ground control points, without compromising the accuracy professional surveyors require.
I suppose the next question is, do i need RTK?
The answer to this is primarily down to whether you need sub 3cm accuracy for your project? Certainly if you are a surveyor and your considering getting a UAV then spending that extra cash to get a UAV which is RTK ready is a must. This will give you a big advantage over your competition as this tech is so new it’s unlikely many people are currently using it.
Here at Rotortronics we believe our expertise and knowledge have enabled us to created the ultimate RTK Mapping Wing. We have overcome all the issues that most machines on the market are plagued with, our system has been developed in house, in the UK and is manufactured to order right here. With unsurpassed expertise and technical knowledge, full training and dedicated support we can help you on your way to implementing mapping drones into your organisation. Please contact us directly to discuss your requirements and projects.