October, 2013

SUAVE SiteSeer    October, 2013

Welcome to the October 2013 edition of our e-bulletin, SiteSeer.

In the following articles, you’ll find details about recent photographic projects using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and about our efforts to develop new technologies that will yield important benefits for clients, including improved image quality and substantial cost savings.

In this issue, we’ll look at a recent aerial photography project at Stonehenge, an ongoing examination of a £30 million highway project in Greater Manchester, and our survey of a rare, pre-Ice Age cave colony in Nottinghamshire, where evidence has been found of inhabitation by Neanderthal hunter gatherers.

We’ll also take a brief glimpse at some recent television appearances, our work photographing Peterborough Cathedral, some creative photography in London and a building survey of one of Manchester’s most prestigious hotels.

Finally, there’s an update about our work on a major new research project that is helping us to develop highly advanced UAV technologies with some very exciting applications. With the support of BAE Systems, National Nuclear Laboratories and some of the country’s leading universities, we’re now pushing the boundaries of what UAVs can achieve – delivering even greater flexibility, image quality and cost savings.

If you’d like to see what we can do for you, please contact us on 07842 766679.


Contents

Worsley New Hall Creswell Monmouth Beach Other

Aerial Survey of Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire
ArcHeritage

A57 Road Improvement Scheme, Salford
Buckingham Group Contracting & Hochtief UK Construction

Stonehenge and Cursus, Wiltshire
English Heritage

Other News in Brief

 


 

Aerial Survey of Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire
ArcHeritage

Creswell Crags is a limestone gorge located by a small lake in Worksop. It has long been recognised as a site of archaeological importance but the recent carbon dating of a disarticulated reindeer bone has provided fascinating evidence that human occupation began more than 40,000 years ago and that the gorge might once have been home to Neanderthal hunters.

Specialist archaeological practice ArcHeritage was recently commissioned to produce a detailed 3D model of the gorge and, following a ground-based laser scan, it asked SUAVE to undertake an aerial survey in order to capture details of the higher levels.

SUAVE duly carried out the photography during a single day visit in March this year, as a result of which we delivered a series of high resolution photographs from which ArcHeritage has since been able to complete its detailed 3D model. The same model will now be developed and embellished to create a computer animation that will show visitors what life might have looked like before the last Ice Age.

 


 

A57 Road Improvement Scheme, Salford
Buckingham Group Contracting & Hochtief UK Construction

At the end of 2012, the Hochtief Buckingham joint venture won a £30 million contract to improve the A57 in Salford, which links to Trafford and is due for completion in the summer of 2014. In March 2013, the contractors asked SUAVE to provide monthly aerial photographic records of progress on the site, which will see the construction of a dual carriageway and other improvements including a new 38 metre lifting bridge spanning the Manchester Ship Canal.

SUAVE began work the same month and has made six subsequent visits, recording progress through a series of high resolution aerial photographs. However, since the site is close to Barton Aerodrome (City Airport, Manchester), we have had to work particularly closely with air traffic controllers in order to operate safely and effectively.

Addressing this particular challenge has entailed precise scheduling and employing a second operator to maintain close radio contact with the Manchester/Barton control tower. Controllers have cooperated by slotting the SUAVE UAV into the circuit, effectively treating it as an ordinary aircraft. Being a licensed pilot has certainly been of great value since it has enabled the work to be managed extremely precisely, the result of which is that the survey has progressed very effectively and without any problems or delays.

 


 

Stonehenge and Cursus, Wiltshire
English Heritage

Of all Britain’s ancient monuments, none is better known than Stonehenge so, in June 2013, it was a privilege to be commissioned by English Heritage, through its survey framework agreement, to carry out a new photographic survey of the site and of several outlying features including the 3km long stone cursus.

The main reason for the project was to provide new photographs for publicity rather than technical purposes. The existing visitor centre is soon due to be replaced and English Heritage was keen to obtain a new stock of high quality photos for use on signs, brochures and a variety of other promotional materials. In particular, it wanted images taken from the more unusual aerial perspective where more could be seen of the seldom-seen top sections of the stones. At the same time, SUAVE was asked to shoot photos of the cursus and a series of nearby burial mounds on King Barrow Ridge.

An important challenge was that part of the site required special permission from the Ministry of Defence because the airspace is used by Salisbury Operations and the nearby Boscombe Down aircraft testing site. This was duly achieved, with military operations in that area being suspended for the duration of the survey, and – taking advantage of a gloriously sunny day – the photographs were secured without a hitch.

 


 

Other News in Brief

NewsroundCountryFileSince issuing our last newsletter, SUAVE has made a couple of national television appearances. We appeared on BBC’s Newsround as part of a report into the question of UAVs and concerns over privacy and, in March 2013, we appeared on the BBC’s Countryfile programme as part of its feature on fossil erosion along the Jurassic Coast.

Another unusual development has been the use of our UAVs to take photos for artists’ impressions of buildings yet to be built. We were recently asked to do a shoot in the City of London, close to the Shard, where we took photographs from the height of an imagined 20th storey window. These images will now be used in illustrations in the property developer’s brochures to show prospective buyers some typical views from the upper floors. We have also completed a similar project for a site in Manchester.

MidlandAlso in Manchester, we were asked by the specialist access and building repair company Crown Services Organisations Ltd, to undertake a partial building survey of The Midland Hotel. The intention was to secure video footage that would help Crown Services and other building contractors with their routine inspection and maintenance programmes. The aerial survey provided a fast, safe and cost effective means of assessing the condition of key building components without requiring operatives to perform an exhaustive manual inspection, which would have required extensive use of abseiling techniques and working at height.

Finally, working on behalf of the survey and measurement specialist, the Downland Partnership, we recently completed a series of aerial photographs of Peterborough Cathedral – one of the ten largest man-made landmarks in Britain. The client is now using these high resolution photographs to produce a detailed photogrammetric survey that will provide very useful data for professionals involved in the cathedral’s maintenance and conservation.

 


 

Further Information:

For details of all our latest heritage, construction and archaeological projects, please visit our online gallery. If you have any questions or if you’d like to discuss a project of your own, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Please call us on 07842 766 679 or email me at Greg@SUAVEAirPhotos.co.uk.

P.S. Please feel free to forward a link to this page to your friends and colleagues!

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