Did You Know?

The District’s UAS pilots are capturing stunning images, but can do much more

USACE Sacramento District
Published Oct. 3, 2022
Updated: Oct. 3, 2022
Sacramento River East Levee (SREL) Project - Contract 2

Aerial image of Sacramento River East Levee (SREL) Contract 2, Reach 4 construction work to address seepage and stability concerns along Sacramento area levees, Sacramento, Calif., Aug. 16, 2021. The work is part of the American River Common Features 2016 project. (Photo by USACE Sacramento District Aviation Section)

Did You Know ... the Sacramento District has the capability to shoot quality imagery using Unmanned Aerial Systems?

Dave Mello, a land surveyor with Sacramento District, is the lead pilot and Aircrew Training Program Manager for the Sacramento District’s Unmanned Aerial System Program. Mello’s team can handle everything from providing photo and video footage to creating detailed mapping of project sites and is even capable of piecing together high-resolution 3D images to share with team members and partner agencies.

They recently acquired a new LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) payload with a laser-based measuring system capable of collecting 300 points per square meter.

With its integrated 26-megapixel camera, the collected ‘pointclouds’ can be colorized with current imagery or be used to produce color *orthophotography supporting a wide variety of engineering, environmental or operations programs that can result in project cost savings and improved safety. (*Orthophotography is an aerial photograph that has been geometrically corrected so that the scale of the photograph is uniform.)

You can read more about the SPK District UAS Team and check out this video detailing some of their capabilities.

Whether you’re interested in getting some sweet aerial images to help showcase your project, or need something a little more high-tech like LiDAR, 3D imaging, or historical documentation, consider checking in with the Sacramento District’s Unmanned Aerial System Program.

But don’t wait until the last minute. Getting cleared to fly can take the UAS team anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks because some locations require special clearance or approval from local, state, DoD or even the FAA due to their proximity to airports, possible air traffic, powerlines, critical infrastructure and more. In other words, plan accordingly.

For more information about the SPK UAS Program, contact Dave Mello at david.s.mello@usace.army.mil or Casey Young at Casey.C.Young@usace.army.mil