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Survey Calibration Field Established to Ensure UAS Accuracy, Data Integrity

Late last year, Woolpert created a survey calibration field for unmanned aircraft systems at Cape May Airport (WWD) in New Jersey. The field established highly precise ground positions that will be used to help vet the accuracy and integrity of UAS platforms and technologies, as well as other photogrammetric and remote sensing tools and data. These include mobile mapping systems, terrestrial and aerial lidar, airborne imagery, data fusion, etc. The calibration field is located near Woolpert’s UAS hub at the National Aviation Research and Technology Park in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

This is the second UAS survey calibration field that Woolpert has established and its first on the East Coast. The Cape May field, where Woolpert had previously established the national geodetic control, has lush trees and vegetation that abut a live runway and taxiway. We also established a Dayton, Ohio, field around our headquarters site, offering the opportunity to calibrate per building, asphalt, grass and related elements. Additionally, Woolpert utilizes a UAS survey calibration site in Fresno, Calif., that has an arid climate and desert atmosphere, with few obstacles. That field is owned by California State University, Fresno and sponsored by the California Department of Transportation.

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Each of these UAS survey calibration fields helps ensure Woolpert can provide the quality, accuracy and accountability of its deliverables. UAS is still a fairly new technology, and when used correctly, can be a challenging tool to implement safely and effectively. Because UAS is more accessible to those newer to the geospatial industry, its products and services are not always held to the same standard of accuracy. Quality control measures like these calibration fields are needed to achieve the appropriate results for each client and to continually refine techniques that will advance the technology and the industry.

We have a long history at Woolpert. Founded as an engineering and survey firm in 1911, we have expanded, evolved and excelled largely because our focus remains on the integrity and viability of our data, regardless of the deployment vehicle or platform. We have learned to approach existing and emerging tools with the same level of quality and precision.

For UAS, this means that we will continue to leverage our survey calibration, aerial acquisition, geospatial and aviation experience to ensure that unmanned aircraft can compete in the same environment as manned aircraft. And, above all, we will ensure that we meet the standard of accuracy our clients and the industry have grown to expect.

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David Kuxhausen

Woolpert Vice President David Kuxhausen, PLS, is the firm’s survey discipline leader. Kuxhausen manages a crew of more than 120 and works extensively with photogrammetric and geodetic survey, GIS data collection and analyses, UAS and mobile lidar deployment. He has been with Woolpert for more than 21 years and works out of the firm’s Denver office.