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Understanding the Role of RTK/PPK in Drone Surveying Accuracy

Understanding the Role of RTK and PPK in Drone Surveying Accuracy
Understanding the Role of RTK and PPK in Drone Surveying Accuracy

With the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in surveying, the ability to get precise outcomes becomes a basic need. RTK technique and PPK have been equipped with additional facilities needed for increased accuracy. These are now being used in the surveying process. These technologies play an essential role in obtaining accurate measurements during drone surveys. Thus, let’s explore the fundamentals and role of these technologies in drone surveying.

What is RTK/PPK?

RTK and PPK impart higher precision of positioning data derived by drones. Using differential GPS (Global Space Systems) technologies. While both aim is to enhance the precision. They approach differently and vary in performance.

Real-Time Kinematic (RTK)

RTK operates employing a network of reference stations that monitor the drone in real-time. And constantly sending correction signals. The mentioned acquisition signals help the drone GPS receiver to calculate position, sometimes about one centimeter. Which is way much higher than the standard precision of surveying measurements. The fixed base stations transmit electromagnetic signals to receive data. The practical area then uses this data to determine its precise geographical positioning.

Post-Processing Kinematic (PPK)

Specifically, the PPK method entails recording raw GNSS data while drone flight is in progress. Which is then post-processed with the help of stable base station information after flight completion. With this kind of final process, a certain level of precision is obtained. However, PPK includes additional processing time to be compared to that of RTK. Nevertheless, the flexibility it provides that you don’t need correction coverage in real-time is an advantage.

Enhancing Surveying Accuracy

The application of RTK and PPK technologies in drone surveying is expected to increase the technology’s accuracy. As it eliminates the need for correction. This precision technology coupled with sub-millimeter positional error allows surveyors to have confidence in accuracy on the map. For example, about land, structures, and features.

Position of Ground Research Points

Ground Control Points serve as essential references in drone survey missions. They are coded with well-known coordinates and then placed on the surface of the Earth. These lines act as a reference for positioning, or aligning aerial imagery with the actual locations. Through the correct entry of the coordinates, surveyors make the level of accuracy for surveying data high. Drone GCP targets rectify such problems by aligning the drone and improving the degree of precision of the survey results. They are incredibly important in georeferencing aerial images. Making sure that the surface of the Earth, where the data emerges from, perfectly coincides with the data. Such design features will deliver precise locations for excellent mapping, and monitoring. Or analysis in different fields, so they are very important in drone surveys.

Incorporating GCPs

In a drone surveying operation, GCPs are taken to the survey area at several points. Which are subsequently used to georeferenced aerial images. These points being placed on the ground are tracked very precisely using sophisticated GNSS surveying equipment. The accuracy of survey data has been improved by aligning the drone-captured imagery with real-world spatial coordinates.

Synergy Between RTK/PPK and GCPs in Projection Accuracy

The connection between RTK/PPK technology and GCPs is indispensable for achieving correct drone surveying. This system enables the precise positioning of drones during flights by the reference points on the ground having known coordinates. Alone they cannot complete the task the way it should, so the combination enables surveyors to relate the data. Such as aerial images with real-world coordinates significantly improving spatial accuracy. RTK/PPK technology permits to get a centimeter-level of spatial accuracy. While reference points put the data in a geographical location. This synergy is to ensure that survey results meet the necessary qualities. Not only in accuracy but also can reliably coincide with the earth’s surface.


In brief, RTK and PPK have a substantial influence on the accuracy of the survey’s results by the drones. By using real-time data correction, for instance, surveyors arrive at the centimeter-level accuracy. And can then capture precise measurements for the uses of mapping, monitoring, and analysis. One of the considerable benefits of combining the known points such as GCPs with RTK/PPK technology is the obtained accuracy and reliability. This enables professionals from different sectors to utilize truthful spatial data for making timely decisions.

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