Drone survey and mapping for civil engineering and projects.

We don't stop at data collection, as we provide a full range of data analysis, digital mapping, training, and consulting services.

A comprehensive solution, tailored to the needs of your project and your team ensures that you get to see the full value of the modern survey methods.

Complete, accurate coverage

Digital photogrammetry provides a complete, detailed survey of the site reducing the need for multiple surveys and improving accuracy of calculations.
High resolution orthophotos and 3D models allow accurate measurements, "virtual survey" and improve the accuracy of engineering calculations.

Cost effective

The use of drone technology to get data far more efficiently than the traditional survey approach. Less time on site and more data results in reduced cost.
With our broad range of experience in civil engineering projects we understand how to use the data to that it adds significant value to your project.


Data and images collected by aerial survey are inherently visual. This provides a unique insight into your site and your environment.
The use of cutting-edge processing techniques render raw data into maps and interactive models. This allows the whole project team to be immersed in the 'visual' data.
Depending on your application we produce high resolution paper maps, online maps, and/or setup online or desktop viewers for 3D data.


We provide customised mapping services for access to data online or on smartphones, and "fit for purpose" recommendations for desktop software.
Online systems can ensure that maps and data are easily accessed and shared between different parts of the project team. This leads to greater efficiency, lower costs, and time-savings.
All members of your team (including planners, engineers, project managers and support staff) can benefit from direct access to the survey data. We provide targeted training to upskill your team so they have the confidence to access and analyse data, ensuring that you maximize the value for the project.

Safe and reliable

Aerial survey using a drone provides a safe, reliable alternative to traditional survey methods. Less time on site means less exposure to site hazards.
We deal with regulation surrounding our flight and follow a comprehensive H&S plan for all our work.


We tailor a solution to meet the needs of your project.

Select the services you need from our comprehensive service package.

Data collection:

  • Data collection using modern drones
  • Low altitude flights to provide high resolution data,
  • Cost effective compared to traditional survey and light plane photogrammetry,
  • We obtain all relevant approvals and implement a modern OH&S system for every project.


  • Modern digital processing techniques,
  • Satellite view, orthophoto, with 2cm-5cm pixels,
  • Colour point cloud for virtual survey,
  • Digital elevation model (DEM),
  • Terrain analysis (cut/fill volumes, contours, hydrology).

Mapping Services:

  • Professional plans and drawings for technical reports,
  • Printed maps for operational or promotional use
  • Setup online maps and apps for mobile devices for on-site use and team collaboration.
  • 3D fly through animations.


  • Your whole team can use the data; training suitable for project managers, designers, surveyors, planners, engineers and support staff,
  • Up-skill your team to use virtual survey,
  • Fit for purpose. Software and training suitable for team members of all backgrounds and skill levels.

Data analysis and custom software:

  • mobile/web systems for improved data collection and workflow
  • automate data processing tasks
  • analysis of data trends (business systems, process data, spatial)
  • custom software for project workflow or engineering calculations


Case Study - Kowai River


Mappazzo recently completed an aerial photo survey study for the Selwyn District Council. Data generated during the mission provide useful data for planning of civil works and ongoing management of the Malvern Hills water race intake on the Kowai River.

The Selwyn District Council was in the process of design for modifications to a section of their water race along the Kowai River near Springfield in Canterbury. After completing a traditional ground survey they were interested in running a trial UAV (Photo Survey) to examine additional details, obtain a high resolution orthophoto and provide a real life comparison of drone based photogrammetry techniques to ground based survey.

Mappazzo used Clarka to undertake a low altitude flight over the area and used the existing survey to georeference the orthophoto and 3D photo survey model. An optimum flight path was identified and programmed prior to the flight (Figure 1) so that Clarka could fly the required course and collect images autonomously. This approach allowed the Mappazzo’s team to maintain a focus on monitoring flight progress and responding to site conditions, and provides optimum efficiency and coverage for the flight.

Figure 1: Pre-programmed course, monitored live during flight

Clarka covered the surveyed area (approx. 5ha) in a single 10 minute flight capturing a total of 121 images for use in the photo survey. The efficiency of the flight meant that loads of battery capacity remained and the team used some of this to capture video footage of the river and demonstrate some other capabilities.
The resulting data was processed by two different methods to examine the different products that could be generated (at different processing cost). Brief descriptions of the products generated for this project are below.

Orthophoto and Elevation Model

To obtain a georeferenced orthophoto Mappazzo offers a low cost alternative to traditional processing, harnessing the power of “the cloud” to provide an entry level product suitable for most environmental and planning applications. The cost of processing by this method is absorbed into our fees and included in the price of flights.
The orthophoto and elevation model can be hosted online for easy viewing and is available in electronic form for use in GIS or CAD applications. A little additional processing of this data can easily produce contours or GIS features. This product was prepared for the Kowai site to provide an example of base level processing. The low flight altitude and availability of ground control (survey) points resulted in a very high quality product by this method, with pixel resolution of 1.6cm and very good alignment to surveyed features.

Figure 2: Alignment of orthophoto and existing survey

An overlay of the traditional survey and the orthophoto (Figure 2) illustrates how well this product can align to known features when processed with ground control.

View online:

Detailed photo survey processing

More intensive (local) processing was undertaken by Mappazzo to illustrate the full capability of the photo survey method and provide the full range of data outputs available from the survey flight.
The raw output from this processing is an extensive dataset of photo survey “points” (referred to as a “point cloud) that provide a full 3D reconstruction of the site. The point cloud is then processed further to characterise features (ground, vegetation, buildings etc) and create more accurate models of the ground surface and structures.

Figure 3: Point cloud view

The point cloud was loaded into 3D design software, used to create a 3D surface model and compared against key cross-sections obtained by the traditional survey method. The results of this comparison proved to be very good with only minor variances between the ground survey and photo survey. Figure 4 illustrates a cross-section through one of the key earthworks alignments.

Figure 4: Cross section showing survey string intersections

There were obvious benefits of obtaining the photo survey for the site as it provided a complete record of the site with wider more detailed coverage of the terrain and major features than the traditional survey method. The orthophoto and 3D models will be used by Selwyn Council and their consultants to identify additional design options and ground features offsite. Noted constraints of the photo survey were the inability to target “covered” objects (such as drain inverts and features covered by dense tree canopy) and the need for ground survey of small objects.