Drone systems are gaining increasing popularity in recent years in the field of remote sensing. This is mainly due to their superiority in terms of resolution, operational flexibility, and diminishing costs. Drones added with sensors make a lethal combination.

In this blog, we will provide a comparative study of drone surveys done using two different technologies, namely, LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) and Photogrammetry. Marvel Geospatial Solutions is your ultimate solution provider who enables your firm to derive intelligent insights leveraging these cutting-edge technologies and ground-breaking innovations.

A point to note is although these technologies have their uniqueness, a few aspects do overlap when applied for drone surveys:

  • Data collection is done in a remote manner
  • Measurement accuracy is similar
  • Both help in the off-site analysis
  • Both create point clouds as the initial output 

Without any further delays, let’s head into the contrasting aspects in the upcoming section.

LiDAR vs Photogrammetry in Drone Surveys

Data Collection Technique

LiDAR employs a system of self-generating and recording of energy pulses, i.e., it is an active sensing system for data collection. Marvel possesses niche expertise in LiDAR for surveys that provide highly accurate results.

Photogrammetry, in contrast, is a passive sensing system. This means it gathers energy from an external source, such as the light emitting from the sun. Image data collected from digital cameras positioned on drones are leveraged for measurements and depth perception. The advantage here is that the point clouds obtained are colourized, which is not so in LiDAR. 

Analysis of Data Intensity 

Different surfaces reflect LiDAR energy at different intensities due to varying absorption. For instance, a metallic plate can reflect much more light energy than a rock.

LiDAR systems can capture these intensity variations and convert them into a raster. The rasters can help to locate features that are complicated to decipher. Photogrammetry, on the other hand, entirely lacks the ability to grasp the intensity differences.   

So, the burning question is when to opt for LiDAR and what use cases suit Photogrammetry? Let’s find out:

LiDAR has the upper hand in Surveying when:

  • The use case demands ground detection like in the case of Hydrology and detailed earth elevation.
  • Data reconstruction of low width structures such as cell towers and wires used for signal transmissions.

Photogrammetry is the recommended choice when:

  • Enhanced visualization of 3D models using the production of Digital Surface Models (DSM). This technology gives lots more data for analysis, and it can be leveraged to calculate parameters like image distortions on a pixel basis. The outcome is an orthorectified image that is impossible to generate via LiDAR.
  • Over pricing for Photogrammetry equipment for drone surveys are cheaper in comparison.

At Marvel Geospatial Solutions, we provide a premium range of aerial and digital photogrammetric services to our clientele. Our comprehensive range of solutions covers data collection and process for Photogrammetric requirements. We ensure you get the most simplistic experiences using seasoned domain expertise.


As discussed in this blog, choosing the right technology for drone surveys ultimately boils down to your preferences and the use case at hand. Some industries and businesses can benefit from a combination of both.

The choice depends on your budget and technical requirements. We hope you gained some valuable insights from this blog and will make full use of it to come up with the ideal selection!