In 2015, Olsson Associates was contacted to discuss performing a survey of The City of Fruita’s proposed Kokopelli Trail connection. The City wanted not only to connect its residents to the world-class Kokopelli Trail network, it also wanted to generate tourism and economic diversity through its focus on health and the outdoors. They ran into trouble when trying to find funding for the project, and trying to do the work in-house would have taken too long due to a small staff and difficult terrain.
They expressed their frustrations to Wyatt Popp, a project manager from Olsson Associates who has worked closely with the City on other projects. At the time, Olsson was looking for opportunities to test its new Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The City hired Olsson to stake survey control points, which Olsson then used to guide its UAS on a pro bono aerial survey. The trail survey involved a flyover of the five-mile project area, during which the UAS recorded georeferenced photos that were then used to generate 3-dimensional photogrammetric pointclouds, aerial ortho photography, and a video of the flyover, allowing the City to easily reference the project area in multiple ways; these deliverables were also made available to the City. Unlike the deliverables produced by a typical ground survey, pointclouds enable the user to not only view and interact with the environment but also manipulate it – trees and other items “in the way” can be removed, and designs can be overlayed to show a 3-dimensional version of the final product.
Olsson was able to do a “pilot study” for its technology, while the City saved approximately $20,000 in fees, which they plan to put towards the future design and construction of the trail.
To learn more about our UAS or drone services, click here.