TOPODRONE Challenges New Surveying and Mapping Methods

Editor’s note: This is a Lidar News interview with Maxim Baklykov, TOPODRONE CEO.

1.  Can you please provide a brief overview of your professional background (s) and experience, particularly with drone sensor technology, along with your involvement in the growth of TOPODRONE and its use of 3D technology? 

TOPODRONE Surveying Mapping
FIXAR VTOL integrated with TOPODRONE LiDAR Avia

As a surveyor with more than 20 years of experience in field and office work. I have always wanted  to make my professional life simpler. I wanted to make the dream of an ordinary surveyor come true and make data accuracy affordable, safe, and fast to achieve. Thus, in 2018 together with a team of like-minded people we accumulated the best talent I could find, and we started the TOPODRONE project. We are Swiss – based designers and manufacturers of high-precision surveying equipment for installation on UAVs, vehicles, and backpacks.  

2.   How does TOPODRONE approach market research and identifying new trends in the industry?

I can say TOPODRONE is a unique company. We neither focus on market research nor identify new trends – we create them ourselves based on our professional experience!

We challenged ourselves to enter the photogrammetry market with an easy-to-use PPK solution for UAVs. My team has developed a small device that turns an ordinary drone into a photogrammetry device. The photogrammetry community was very suspicious towards our solution. However, drone surveyors globally were open to test the idea.

The interest in our PPK solution proven by thousands of sales all over the world inspired us to maintain the approach for developing affordable and accurate equipment. Later on, we experimented with more advanced tools: cameras, LiDARs, bathymetry hardware and also software. We test the equipment for our projects first in multiple scenarios taking into consideration both weather conditions and terrain. Then we regularly collect customer feedback and advance our solutions accordingly.

As of today, we are creating a new surveying and mapping trend and synchronizing multiple surveying approaches: airborne & mobile for photogrammetry and LiDAR on the one hand, and airborne photogrammetry, LiDAR, and bathymetry on the other. We have a community of thousands of users globally who experiment and grow together with us advancing their portfolios with new surveying devices. 

Post processing of mobile LiDAR scanning in TOPODRONE software

3.    Can you provide an overview of the process for developing and launching a new product at TOPODRONE? How do you manage and communicate product updates and changes to internal teams and external partners? 

We either develop our existing products or create new ones based on our and customers’ professional needs. We were very productive with our R&D in 2H 2022: we launched new multispectral cameras P24 and P61, integrated FIXAR VTOLs with our LiDARs and proudly introduced to the market AQUAMAPPER, a solution for airborne bathymetry. 

We usually present our innovations at InterGEO. Our technological and sales partners globally spread the word about TOPODRONE products and solutions at regional, local and in-house events. We run an annual user conference where our customers share experience, discuss advantages and limitations of our hardware and software. And of course, like any company today we use common communications tools such as the website, social media, and mail outs.  

4.      Can you provide an overview of some of the most popular TOPODRONE products that will be on display at the upcoming Geo Week in Denver, CO?

Data collected with TOPODRONE LiDAR and bathymetric equipment 

It is the first time we bring TOPODRONE products to Geo Week. We are very excited to introduce to the wider LiDAR community the entire TOPODRONE LiDAR product line for high-precision mapping; LiDAR 3-in-1 systems: drone, car, backpack; LiDAR VTOL integrations; TOPODRONE LiDAR Post Processing software and more. 

We will be located at booth #1135 and plan to share some knowledge at free workshops on data collection and processing. The schedule is as follows: 

  • February 13, 16 00 – ‘Large area LiDAR survey with FIXAR VTOL’, speakers: Maxim Baklykov, TOPODRONE CEO, & Ronald Schultz, Head of Sales at FIXAR
  • February 14, 12 00 – ‘Synchronization of Drone & Mobile laser scanning. Data capturing and processing workflow’, speaker: Maxim Baklykov, TOPODRONE CEO
  • February 15, 11 00 – ‘Bathymetric Survey with AQUAMAPPER’, speaker: Maxim Baklykov, CEO at TOPODRONE  

5.      Using your crystal ball can you give us an idea of some of the big changes that might take place with drone lidar at TOPODRONE?

This year we plan to challenge ourselves with creating one more new trend. We focus our R&D team on a so-called multi-spectral integration. We plan to deliver a single product with the functions of a multi-spectral camera and multi-spectral LiDAR both for airborne and mobile use.   

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