Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Rodgers, III John C.

Committee Member

Dash, Padmanava

Committee Member

Moorhead, Robert J.

Committee Member

Cooke, III William H.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Geospatial Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Modern prosumer small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) have eliminated many historical barriers to aerial remote sensing and photogrammetric survey data generation. The relatively low cost and operational ease of these platforms has driven their adoption for numerous geospatial applications including professional surveying and mapping. However, significant debate exists among geospatial professionals and academics regarding prosumer sUAS ability to achieve “survey-grade” geospatial accuracy ≤ 0.164 ft. in their derivative survey data. To address this debate, a controlled accuracy test experiment was conducted in accordance with federal standards whereby prosumer sUAS geospatial accuracies were reported between 15.367 ft. – 0.09 ft. horizontally and 496.734 ft. – 0.330 ft. vertically at the 95% confidence level. These results suggest prosumer sUAS derived survey data fall short of “survey-grade” accuracy in this experiment. Therefore, traditional surveying instruments and methods should not be relinquished in favor of prosumer sUAS for complex applications requiring “survey-grade” accuracy at this time.



structure from motion||remote sensing||aerial||UAS||unmanned aircraft systems||mapping||photogrammetry