TopoMatters – Colorado Drone Mapping and LiDAR

Insights from TopoMatters

Survey technology in drone mapping

Drone mapping has become an essential tool for professionals in industries such as construction, agriculture, and surveying. However, ensuring the accuracy of the resulting maps and models can be a challenge. One way to increase the accuracy is through the use of survey technology in drone mapping, including Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) and Post-Processing Kinematic (PPK) techniques. In this blog post, we will explore what RTK and PPK are and how they can improve the accuracy of drone mapping.

What is RTK?

RTK is a technique used to improve the accuracy of GPS positioning by using a fixed base station to provide corrections to the GPS signals received by the drone. The base station receives signals from GPS satellites and calculates its position with high accuracy. The drone then receives these corrections from the base station in real-time, allowing it to improve its own GPS positioning accuracy. RTK can improve the horizontal and vertical accuracy of GPS positioning to within a few centimeters.

What is PPK?

PPK is a technique used to improve the accuracy of GPS positioning after the drone has completed its mission. Instead of receiving real-time corrections from a base station, PPK uses post-processed GPS data to calculate more accurate positioning information. The GPS data from the drone is collected during the mission and then post-processed using specialized software, which compares the drone’s GPS data to the GPS data from a nearby reference station. By comparing these two sets of data, the software can determine the precise position of the drone during the mission.

How can RTK and PPK improve the accuracy of drone mapping?

RTK and PPK can both significantly improve the accuracy of drone mapping. By using RTK or PPK, the drone’s GPS data can be corrected to within a few centimeters, resulting in more accurate maps and models. This level of accuracy is particularly important for industries such as construction and surveying, where precise measurements and positioning information are critical.

RTK and PPK can also reduce the need for ground control points (GCPs). GCPs are physical markers placed on the ground to improve the accuracy of drone mapping by providing known reference points. However, using GCPs can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. By using RTK or PPK, the need for GCPs can be significantly reduced or eliminated altogether.


In conclusion, RTK and PPK are powerful techniques that can significantly improve the accuracy of drone mapping. By using these techniques, professionals like TopoMatters can produce more accurate maps and models, reduce the need for GCPs, and enable more informed decisions. As technology continues to advance, RTK and PPK are likely to become even more essential tools for professionals in the drone mapping industry.