Richard THOMA
(Archäologischer Dienst GesmbH, Austria)

Abstract: ARDIG Archäologischer Dienst GesmbH has been using a radio controlled flying drone with mounted camera to shoot aerial pics for several months now. The usability of such a drone includes many areas that are not accessible by manned aircraft. In the field of archeology these could be photogrammetry, construction research, aerial overview pictures and smaller prospections. Flight height up to 300m can be reached, but best results will be obtained from 10 to 150m.

ARDIG uses a modular system which has been built by ourselves. In comparison to the ready-built systems there are the following differences:

  • Better knowledge of the system, defectives can mostly be fixed by oneself, no sending to the manufacturer required
  • Upgrading like GPS, camera-mounts, stronger motors etc. can easily be installed
  • Higher payloads, which means a wider selection on cameras
  • Better value for money
  • No warranty from the manufacturer
  • More effort through buildup, choice of components and adjustments

Advantages compared to manned aircraft:

  • No minimal flight height, no permisson for low-level flight necessary
  • Costs: The costs of a drone flight are only a fraction of a manned aircraft takeoff.
  • Proximity: Because of the minimal size and weight a drone can hover closely to the desired object
  • Almost silently, it is also applicable in sensitive areas
  • Video transmission in real-time allows customer to chose picture detail on ground
  • GPS and waypoints allow flying the same positions and taking pictures from the same angle repeatedly, e.g. for prospections at varying phases of plant cover.
  • Because of the minimal effort of a flight a fast readiness of action is guaranteed, e.g. to take advantage of good weather or when a certain altitude of the sun is important for the picture.
  • The flight system ARDIG is using provides a very cost-efficient and fast possibility to realize aerial pictures of highest quality for various purposes.

Keywords: drone, aerial pictures, prospection