An overview of geospatial methods for data acquisition and analysis: Useful insights exist beyond the hype.
A range of methods for the acquisition of geospatial data are now readily available to Geoscientists and Engineers. The emergence of new techniques in this field is often accompanied by an amount of hype, whereby the real value is often overlooked. We present an overview of a range of geospatial acquisition methods and analysis techniques primarily developed for use in other geoscience sectors such as oil & gas and geoscience research. The crossover applicability to the extractive industries is demonstrated. Fracture characterisation of 3D surface analogue models of oil & gas reservoirs acquired using terrestrial laser scanning and photogrammetry is applied to a quarry dataset for example to define range and likely distribution of block sizes. Digital surface models derived from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles can be used as an alternative to topographic maps for improving the accuracy of slope stability calculations. Low-cost Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) developed to monitor earthquake surface deformation can be applied to the case of unstable slopes and to quantify the effects of remedial work. New techniques often provide an opportunity to acquire geospatial data more efficiently and with improved spatial accuracy and resolution, however an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each technique is essential in order to select the best method for a particular approach and to apply this technique correctly. A combination of acquisition methods often provides the best data for a particular investigation. For example, terrestrial laser scan data is combined with UAV-derived photogrammetric data to enhance overall coverage whilst maintaining spatial accuracy. Accuracy validation of one method against another is an important consideration. For instance, UAV data is routinely ground-truthed using low-cost GNSS to ensure spatial accuracy.