Nacogdoches-based Hydrex Environmental has adopted a new, cutting-edge technology to expand the Hydrex Drone Division fleet. Hydrex has integrated LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology into the drone program enabling operators to penetrate even densely vegetated forest canopies to create accurate and detailed ground-surface models. This technology has applications across a broad range of fields, including agriculture, conservation, geology, mining, solar, forestry management, oil and gas, engineering, land development, building modeling, and railway inspection.
“Hydrex Environmental has continued to innovate for more than 25 years. We’re excited to announce this investment that enables our professional team to collect and interpret survey-grade data with laser accuracy,” Hydrex GM/Senior Environmental Scientist Clayton Collier said.
LiDAR systems work like radar but instead of radio waves, they use a rapidly firing laser to scan with pin-point precision. LiDAR scanning produces 3D point clouds, which are made up of hundreds of thousands of georeferenced points reflecting the physical shape of the area scanned, which can be analyzed, classified, and filtered to produce 3D models. Hydrex incorporates RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) corrections to provide real-time positioning with up to centimeter-level accuracy.
The newest Hydrex drone features a 45-megapixel camera that produces high-resolution, orthomosaic imagery, accurate within a half an inch. Using a photogrammetric process, individual photographs taken during a LiDAR survey are combined to produce one large, map-quality image. 3D point clouds are also produced from this method, allowing Hydrex to perform accurate calculations for distances, areas, and volumes.
All drone operations performed by Hydrex comply with all applicable FAA regulations. Hydrex drones are registered with the FAA and flights are completed safely by certified FAA remote pilots.
Recognized as a leader in the industry for more than 25 years, Hydrex has demonstrated distinctive capabilities in geology, hydrogeology, geochemistry, engineering, and environmental science. The depth of expertise in the Hydrex team includes environmental compliance, industrial and municipal solid waste management, property development, groundwater management, wetlands and stream delineation, mitigation and permitting, cemetery mapping, natural resource management, and geographic information system (GIS) mapping.