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Aerial Mapping

Kestrel Imaging does an extensive amount of work for traffic engineering firms and their clients providing aerial surveys of parking lots, highway corridors, round-a-bouts, cities and other areas where aerial analysis can yield valuable data. Drones are used for smaller areas such as a college campus or shopping center parking lots. For larger surveys including metropolitan areas and long highway corridors, we use helicopters or fixed wing aircraft such as the Cessna 172.

Application Examples

Parking Study - City of Raleigh, NC


Kestrel Imaging collected midweek off-peak and peak parking occupancy data among dozens of surface lots in downtown Raleigh, NC. Parking data was also collected during the NC Bluegrass Festival. While one of Kestrel’s partners collected parking deck occupancy at ground level, Kestrel Imaging flew an aircraft over the city, taking high resolution photographs of the entire downtown area. The deployment of aircraft and resulting orthomosaic images offered significantly improved data accuracy and resolution, as photography from all surface lots was collected in a matter of minutes.

An orthomosaic map is created by "stitching" several images together to form a single high resolution map.  In the example below, 740 acres of the city of Raleigh, NC was photographed from an airplane and an orthomosaic map was prepared for the purpose of counting the number of parked cars within the defined area. These maps were created once an hour over an 8 hour period to yield an analysis of how available parking capacity was being used.


Individual Images

Finished Orthomosaic Map

Area of Detail

Parking Lot Studies

Drones have proven to be very useful in surveying parking lots giving clients accurate information about hourly usage, turnover and other statistics. This type of work is typically done on the ground by driving around the lot at the top of each hour counting both used and unoccupied spaces where it is later tabulated. Using a drone, a high resolution orthomosaic map of the entire lot can be captured in a matter of minutes and repeated hourly to allow analysts to draw meaningful data more quickly and at less expense. Below is an example taken from a parking lot study done at the MetroCenter complex in Chantilly, VA in February, 2020 at 12:00, 1:00 and 3:00 pm. Click on the larger image to zoom in for more detail.


12:00 pm


1:00 pm


3:00 pm (click image to zoom)

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