NGI has carried out internal R&D on RPAS opportunities for geohazard and general geological / geotechnical mapping starting in 2015 and became a Norwegian certified, commercial RPAS operator in the same year. In 2021, NGI operates seven small aircraft with a multitude of different onboard sensor types for surveying.  NGI continues to apply RPAS tools in many different research and consulting projects.

Large areas, slopes, and rock outcrops can be surveyed with centimetre-scale accuracy within limited time and costs.  Images acquired from an RPAS are used to create digital surface models and 3-D point clouds.  Further analysis can provide volume estimates, change detection, and multi-band image classification.  Some example applications are presented below.

RPAS related services

  • High-resolution 3-D mapping
  • Volume calculations
  • Automatic detection of joint sets
  • Slope stability monitoring
  • Multispectral mapping and thermal infrared imaging
  • Training in geoscience related RPAS operation
Rock mass overhanging a major road in Western Norway 1000

Rock outcrop overhanging a major road in Western Norway with a 660 cubic meter volume determined by an RPAS-derived 3-D model.


NGI drone application picture 2b 1000

Site grading and deposit volume measurements for a landfill derived from RPAS images and represented above on top as a photorealistic orthographic projection, and below a high-resolution digital surface model.


Ryggfonn avalanche web

A 3-d model of an avalanche mapped by drone.