The Customer

Most Hollydene grapes are sourced from the family-owned company’s three vineyards dotted from Jerry’s Plains to Hollydeen and Wybong.
All three vineyards have previously produced award-winning wines and now that they are combined under Hollydene Estate Wines, the grapevines and subsequent wines are proving their superiority yet again.
Their experienced and dedicated vineyard managers Tony Merta and Scott (Charlie) Farley, along with their team are committed to growing premium quality grapes of elegance, complexity and true varietal character.
This is achieved with low yielding vines and careful management of their vineyards.



The Mission

Spatial Technologies Pty Ltd was asked to survey all three estates to produce maps to identify
vegetation and the topography of the land. One of the added services was to capture 4K video to be used for promotional purposes.The areas to be covered was a total of 600 ha.

These areas were located in mountainous landscapes with a variety of vegetation from grassland , vineyards and forest. This was an ideal project to test all aspects of capturing and analysing environmental information to help farmers plan and understand the current state of a crop or vineyard.



The Results

The data produced was better quality than expected by the customer. They only needed sub meter accuracy. By using the best quality sensor and some strategically placed control in conjunction with the RTK on the UAV, we got an accuracy of 20-30mm. This was the optimal combination between flight time, height and ground sampling distance (GSD).



Project Statistics

Area Covered

630 ha

Total Flights

32 with an average of 10 minutes

Total Pictures

9100 pictures (103Gb)

Ground Sampling Distance


Processing Time

96 hours


After the two days’ work and data processing, we could extract any information related to the site as we pleased. We ensured that we had all areas covered in case we needed it. This does not require extra flying so it would just make sense to include extra information that could come in handy in future. The UAV can carry both RGB and Multispectral camera. This allows us to get both Ortho photo data and multispectral images to do detail vegetation analysis. This one dataset gives us access to extract and analyse the following information.


Digital Elevation Model (DEM)

With the DEM information, we can generate contours and analyse catchment areas. This is done using the GIS application and grid analysis. This same information can then be passed on to ground moving plant and used as a guide in machine control systems. The model can also be stripped of trees and structures to produce a ground level DEM only. From this info, we can then calculate heights of structures or trees.



An orthophoto is an aerial photograph or image geometrically corrected (“orthorectified”) such that the scale is uniform: the photo has the same lack of distortion as a map. Unlike an uncorrected aerial photograph, an orthophotograph can be used to measure true distances, because it is an accurate representation of the Earth’s surface, having been adjusted for topographic relief, lens distortion, and camera tilt.
The use in the context of farming is endless. It has been used as simple as a background image in GIS for the results of analysis to counting livestock and identify assets. If the same area is flown at a later stage in the season, this can also be used to do change analysis to identify growth and changes in the vineyard over time. These images can also be used to do remote sensing to detect and classify objects on earth.



A multispectral image is one that captures image data at specific frequencies across the electromagnetic spectrum. The wavelengths may be separated by filters or using instruments that are sensitive to particular wavelengths, including light from frequencies beyond the visible light range, such as infrared.
Plants absorb and reflect light differently depending on this wavelength. Plants typically absorb blue light and red light, while reflecting some green light. They also reflect a much larger amount of near-infrared (NIR) light, which is not visible to the human eye.
The normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) is a simple graphical indicator that can be used to analyse these images and assess whether the target being observed contains live green vegetation or not.
The yeild of the crop can also be calculated by identifying seeds, frutes etc and calculating how much per plant is produced.


HD video was captured by flying the areas using a 4K video camera. The video is used for promotional purposes, but individual frames can also be extracted for planning or even publication. The video also includes the exact location of the UAV. This allow us the capture information from the video and display the camera location on a map.




Although there was no requirement to do thermal video, this can also be useful in identifying hot-spots on the land, livestock and wet or colder areas on the land. The thermal image is streamed live to a monitor while the pilot is flying. An example for the use of thermal imaging on farms is the identification of wild pigs and then using the drone to drop bait at these locations.


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