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SPH Engineering GPR-drone integrated system

A GPR mounted on a drone enables to see through the surface of ground, ice, rocks, freshwater, and buildings or through structures at unsafe and hazardous environments without compromising the safety of staff, providing an additional solution for mor…

  • SPH Engineering GPR-drone integrated system
SPH Engineering
Daugavgrivas 140
LV-1007 Riga
Latvia

Description

A GPR mounted on a drone enables to see through the surface of ground, ice, rocks, freshwater, and buildings or through structures at unsafe and hazardous environments without compromising the safety of staff, providing an additional solution for more efficient surveying.

Technical specification

Currently, SPH Engineering provides two configurations for the GPR-drone integrated system setup. Both are using DJI M600 Pro drone and Radarteam Cobra Plug-In GPR, but the antenna is different in each setup:

 - SUBECHO-70 (SE-70) antenna

 - SUBECHO-150 (SE-150) antenna

Antennas differ in their frequency range and centre frequency. SE-70 has a centre frequency of 80 MHz and can penetrate the ground more – up to 80 meters in good conditions (ice or dry sand). SE-150 has a centre frequency of 124 MHz and penetration up to 40 meters in good conditions, however, the resolution is much better.

Table summarizing the main characteristics of the GPR-drone integrated system

COBRA PLUG-IN ANTENNAS

SUBECHO MODELS 

SE-70

SE-150

Frequency range, MHz

20-140

20-280

Bandwidth, MHz

120

260

Centre frequency, MHz

80

124

Size (L x W x H), cm

139 x 15 x 21

92 x 22 x 22

Weight, kg

3,7

3,5

DJI M600 Pro drone with GPR

Take-off weight

with TB47S batteries, kg

14,31

14,11

with TB48S batteries, kg

14,81

14,61

Approximate flight time

with TB47S batteries, min

15

16

with TB48S batteries, min

19

20

Maximum length of survey line (speed 2m/s)

with TB47S batteries, m

1800

1920

with TB48S batteries, m

2280

2400

 

Applications

Current the GPR-drone integrated system can be used in areas where deep ground penetration is required but a good resolution is not very important.

Examples of applications include:

 - Bathymetry of fresh water

 - Geological surveys for soil layer profiling

 - Mapping of underground infrastructure

 

Bathymetry

The GPR-drone integrated system enables to measure the depth of water or profiling the bottom of freshwater rivers, lakes, ponds up to 15 meters in depth.

Benefits – possibility to do work even when the water is frozen or the surface of the water is partially covered with ice. Compared to bathymetry using a boat (equipped with echo sounders) the drone with a GPR provides better accuracy in following survey lines thanks to the inbuilt GPS and automated flight. Also, in most cases, a drone makes it a lot easier to deliver the necessary equipment to the desired area.

The results displayed in Figure 3 were gathered with the drone flying at an altitude of 20 meters above the water surface level to profile 8 meters deep frozen lake.

Result acquired with GPR-drone integrated system: layers of the soil below a parking lot measured up to a depth of 36m
Figure 3. Profiling results of a frozen lake.

The 3D visualization of the lakes profile was created using GPR-Slice software (http://www.gpr-survey.com).

 

Geological surveys

Soil layer profiling is a standard task that needs to be done before any serious area development or construction works. The standard technique is drilling dozens of holes or conducting a GPR survey on carts.

GPR-drone integrated system delivers higher work productivity and enables safer work conditions for the personnel in cases of rough terrain.

GPR allows finding any potentially dangerous underground water streams or lakes.

Data gathered by GPR-drone integrated system flying at an altitude of 5 meters over an asphalt-covered car parking lot is displayed in Figure 4. The soil layers are clearly visible.

Result acquired with GPR-drone integrated system: layers of the soil below a parking lot measured up to a depth of 36m
Figure 4. Layers of the soil below a parking lot measured up to a depth of 36m.

 

Mapping of underground infrastructure

Mapping of underground infrastructure is an important task before starting any construction works on previously developed territories or in cases when actual documentation and maps for underground infrastructure is missing.

Please note that the current GPR-drone integrated system does not enable to map small or thin objects such as cables or thin pipes. It is capable of detecting objects with an approximate size of 5 - 10% of depth, such as concrete sewage channels, tunnels, bunkers, etc.

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