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Geospatial and Drone Common Terms


The size of a geographic feature measured in unit squares.

Airborne LiDAR

In airborne LiDAR, a laser scanner is mounted on an aircraft or helicopter, which scans the ground surface below it with laser beams. The reflected signals are then collected by the scanner and processed to generate 3D point clouds of the terrain.


Altitude is specified relative to either mean sea level (MSL) or an ellipsoid (HAE).


In the context of GIS and mapping, annotation refers to the process of adding labels, symbols, or other text or graphical elements to a map or other spatial data visualization.


ArcGIS is a software platform developed by ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) that allows users to create, manage, analyze, and share geographic data and maps.


A satellite imagery archive is a collection of satellite images that have been collected, processed, and stored.


Building Information Modeling (BIM): These days, a growing number of architects, engineers, and contractors are using BIM. BIM is an intelligent model-based process that connects these professionals so they can more efficiently design, build, and operate buildings and infrastructure through information modeling.


BVLOS stands for "Beyond Visual Line of Sight." It refers to the ability to control and monitor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones beyond the range of the operator's direct line of sight.

Bathymetric LiDAR Mapping

Bathymetric LiDAR is used for mapping the underwater topography of the sea or riverbeds. In this method, a Lidar sensor is mounted on a boat or ship, which emits laser beams that penetrate the water surface and reflect back from the seafloor.


A software tool used to reduce the size of large raster files. Compression can be lossless, which preserves image quality, or lossy, which sacrifices some image quality for the sake of greatly reduced file size. Examples include MrSID and JPEG2000 formats.

Construction Site Monitoring

Construction site drone monitoring refers to the use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor and collect data on construction sites

Contour Interval

The contour interval is a constant value that determines the vertical distance between adjacent contour lines. It is chosen based on the characteristics of the mapped area and the level of detail required for the map.

Contour Lines

Contour lines are imaginary lines on a map that connect points of equal elevation above a reference level, such as sea level. They represent the shape and relief of the land surface.

Contour Map

A contour map, also known as a topographic map or a contour plot, is a graphical representation of the three-dimensional shape of a terrain or surface using contour lines. Contour lines are lines that connect points of equal elevation or altitude above a reference point, such as sea level. These lines are drawn on a two-dimensional map to show the shape and relief of the land.


A Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is a digital representation of the topography or elevation of a land surface, typically depicted as a raster grid of elevation values. It is a type of geospatial data used in GIS, remote sensing, and other earth science applications.


A DSM represents the earth's surface with all features above ground, including buildings, vegetation, and other objects. It includes both the terrain elevation and the height of above-ground features, which is useful in applications such as urban planning, telecommunications, and aviation.


A DTM is a digital model that represents the bare earth surface by removing all the features above ground, such as buildings, vegetation, and other objects. It represents the actual elevation of the terrain, which is useful in applications such as hydrological modeling, flood risk assessment, and terrain analysis.

Drone LiDAR Mapping

UAV or drone-based LiDAR is gaining popularity due to its ability to collect LiDAR data in hard-to-reach or dangerous areas, such as mountains, cliffs, and building facades. UAV LiDAR involves mounting a LiDAR sensor on a drone, which collects data by flying over the area of interest.

Drone Mapping

Drone mapping involves deploying drones to collect high-resolution imagery and other data, which is then processed and analyzed to generate accurate maps, orthomosaics, and 3D models of the surveyed area.

Drone Surveying

In drone surveying, drones are equipped with different types of sensors, including high-resolution cameras, LiDAR, thermal sensors, and multispectral or hyperspectral cameras. These sensors capture data, allowing for the creation of detailed maps, 3D models, and orthophotos.


Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing Vehicle (eVOTL):  Most cities do not have the space for a runway to hold electrical flying cars. The way we travel will be changed by the public adoption of eVTOL aircraft.

Facade Inspection

Building facade inspections are an important part of ensuring the safety and longevity of a building, and they should be performed regularly to identify and address any issues before they become more serious.


GIS is a computer-based system that allows users to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, and present spatial or geographic data. GIS technology uses specialized software, hardware, data, and people to create, manage, analyze, and visualize various types of spatial data, such as maps, aerial imagery, satellite imagery, and geographic datasets.


Georeferencing is the process of associating a location or set of coordinates with spatial data, such as maps, images, or other geographic information.


Spatial data can refer to any kind of spatial arrangement, geospatial data is inherently tied to geographic location.


KML (Keyhole Markup Language) is an XML-based file format used for displaying geographic data in a 3D Earth browser such as Google Earth or Google Maps. It allows users to create and share custom maps with annotations, placemarks, 3D models, images, and other geographic data.


LAANC is part of the FAA's overall effort to integrate drones into the National Airspace System (NAS) and to promote safe and responsible drone use.

Maxar Satellite Images

Maxar is a leading provider of high-resolution Earth imagery and geospatial solutions. Their imagery can be used for various purposes, including mapping, urban planning, environmental monitoring, and more.


National Elevation Dataset  NED is an elevation database created by the United States Geological Survey. The NED is a collection of the best elevation data.


National Sparial Data Infrastruture - NSDI

Navigation Mapping

Navigation mapping refers to the process of creating digital maps that are used for navigation purposes. These maps provide detailed information about roads, streets, landmarks, and other geographical features to help people navigate from one location to another.

Ortho Imagery

Aerial photographs that have been rectified to produce an accurate image of the Earth by removing tilt and relief displacements, which occurred when the photo was taken.

Ortho Mosaic

An ortho mosaic is a high-resolution map of an area created by stitching together multiple orthorectified aerial or satellite images. Orthorectification involves correcting the distortions caused by terrain and camera angles to create an accurate, two-dimensional representation of the area


Photogrammetry is a technique used to measure and create 3D models of objects or scenes using photographs. It involves analyzing the geometric properties of photographs, such as the position and orientation of the camera, and extracting information from the images to create accurate 3D representations.

Pipeline Mapping

Pipeline mapping is the process of creating a detailed map of pipelines and related infrastructure used for the transportation of liquids, gases, or other materials. This technique is commonly used by the oil and gas industry, as well as other industries that rely on pipelines for transportation.

Powerline Mapping

Powerline mapping is the process of creating a detailed map of power lines, poles, and related infrastructure. This technique is commonly used by power companies to manage their assets and maintain their electrical systems.


The QuickBird satellite sensor, which was in operation from 2001 until 2015, played a crucial part in the advancement of Earth observation for commercial purposes. It offered some of the most detailed images of our planet that were accessible during that period.


Drone SLAM typically involves the use of sensors such as cameras, LIDAR, and RADAR, which provide measurements of the environment. These measurements are then processed by SLAM algorithms to estimate the drone's position and orientation and to build a map of the environment.

Satellite Imagery Resolution

Satellite imagery resolution refers to the level of detail and clarity in an image captured by a satellite. It is typically described in terms of spatial resolution and can vary depending on the satellite and the imaging system used.

Satellite Sensors or Cameras

Satellite image cameras, often referred to as remote sensing sensors, are the primary devices used to capture images from satellites orbiting the Earth.

Terrestrial LiDAR

Terrestrial LiDAR involves the use of a ground-based laser scanner, which is placed on a tripod or a mobile vehicle, or on a backpack. The scanner emits laser beams, which bounce back from the surfaces they hit and are collected by the scanner to generate 3D point clouds.

Terrestrial Mapping

Terrestrial mapping is the process of creating maps of the Earth's surface using data collected from the ground. This can be done using a variety of techniques, including surveying, photogrammetry, and remote sensing.

The 3D Models

Creating a 3D model from drone imagery typically involves a process called photogrammetry, which involves analyzing multiple overlapping photos to create a 3D model of the subject.

Topographic Map

TBDA topographic map is a type of map that represents the three-dimensional features of the Earth's surface in a two-dimensional format. It displays the contours of the land, showing the elevation, shape, and location of hills, valleys, mountains, and other physical features.

What is 4D GIS Mapping

Time is the fourth dimensions of Geographic Information Systems. The grid or coordinate system is the first two dimensions and is the basis for a 2D paper map. The presentation of height or elevation allows for features on the map to be shown in 3D. Over time the change in mapped features is reported by the fourth dimensions.

Wind Turbine Drone Inspection

Using drones for wind turbine inspections can be a cost-effective and efficient way to perform many tasks that would otherwise be difficult or dangerous for humans to perform.


WorldView-1 is a commercial Earth observation satellite operated by Maxar Technologies. It was launched on September 18, 2007, and is part of the WorldView series of satellites.


WorldView-2 is a commercial Earth observation satellite owned and operated by Maxar Technologies. Launched on October 8, 2009, it continues to provide high-resolution imagery of our planet for a variety of applications.


WorldView-3 by Maxar Technologies, is a multi-payload, super-spectral Earth observation satellite. It boasts several advancements over its predecessors, making it a powerful tool for various applications


WorldView-4 is a high-resolution Earth observation satellite launched on November 11, 2016, by Maxar Technologies. It has significantly enhanced the company's capabilities for capturing detailed images of our planet.


The X-axis is typically used to plot values along the horizontal direction.


An XML (eXtensible Markup Language) file is a text-based file format used for data exchange and storage. 


The Y-axis is used to plot values along the vertical direction


The Z-axis is used to plot values along the depth direction.


Map zoom level refers to the level of magnification or the scale of the map display. When you zoom in on a map, you are increasing the level of detail shown on the map, while zooming out reduces the level of detail.

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