Our goal is to process your data as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure customer delight. We invest a significant amount of effort to process the data successfully the first time. However, capturing these thousands of images might be challenging. Therefore, we created this article, taking into account the best practices that will save you a lot of time and frustration during the data acquisition. First we will share the min requirements for the flight plan.

Flight plan

For the Survey Essential + Thermal data product we require visual (RGB) and thermal photos. A drone pilot will use an unmanned aerial system (a drone with a camera) to capture the data on site.

Visual (RGB) Data Requirements

  • GSD: 1.0 cm per pixel at panel level. When collecting data from rooftops, please find some additional best practices here.

  • Front Overlap (direction of the flight lines): 75%.

  • Side Overlap (perpendicular to the direction of the flight lines): 75%.

  • Flight Line Direction: Along the long edge of the solar rows.

  • Gimbal Orientation: standard Nadir (-90 deg), with acceptable deviation up to 20 deg to avoid sun glare.

  • Image Format: JPEG.
    Each image should contain the following metadata: GPS location, relative altitude, gimbal pitch, gimbal yaw, gimbal roll and local timestamp.

  • Image Quality: in focus, free from motion blur and minimal glare.

Thermal Data Requirements

  • GSD: 5.5 cm per pixel at panel level. When collecting data from rooftops, please find some additional best practices here.

  • Front Overlap (direction of the flight lines): 75%.

  • Side Overlap (perpendicular to the direction of the flight lines): 75%.

  • Image Resolution: 640x512 pixels.

  • Flight Line Direction: Along the long edge of the solar rows.

  • Gimbal Orientation: standard Nadir (-90 deg), with acceptable deviation up to 20 deg to avoid sun glare.

  • Image format: R-JPEG or Radiometric TIF.
    Each image should contain the following metadata: GPS location, relative altitude, gimbal pitch, gimbal yaw, gimbal roll and local timestamp.

  • Image Quality: in focus, free from motion blur and minimal glare.

  • Environmental Conditions:
    Wind speed of maximum 5 m/s,
    Flights early in the morning up to maximum 1 hour after sunrise (recommended),
    Cloud coverage overcast, thick clouds and no shadows,
    Outside temperature of at least 10 deg Celcius lower than the inside of the building,
    The inspected installation should be free from precipitation just before or during the flight.

Blocks

  • To ensure weather conditions are kept homogeneous across the entire inspection, sites larger than 5ha should always be divided into separate blocks.

  • To ensure a consistent Ground Sample Distance [cm/pixel], sites with elevation differences of more than 10m should always be divided into separate blocks.

  • Blocks will have to be flown separately.

The Sitemark platform does not let you cut sites into blocks. Reach out to our support team at support@sitemark.com to let them know and they will cut the site into blocks on your behalf.

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