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Aerial Mapping & Bathymetry Survey


Want quicker data collection, better accuracy and lower risks? Read more about our aerial mapping services here!


Client: AECOM
Project: Canoe Lake Cree First Nation – Aerial Mapping & Bathymetric Survey
Dates: Sept. 2022 to Nov. 2022

Project Purpose:

+ To assist AECOM’s water resources engineering team with flood mapping and stormwater drainage analysis for the Canoe Lake Cree First Nation.

Client Challenges:

+ AECOM did not have accurate or temporally relevant elevation data for the region or depth information on the Chitek River.
+ AECOM required a bridge survey to incorporate into their analysis.
+ The timing of the project resulted in a short time frame for data collection.

This project was unique in that a critical decision was made to use Caltech’s adaptable Mobile Mapping System (MMS). The MMS was mounted on a helicopter for aerial data collection. This decision was essential to the success of the project.

The Canoe Lake Cree First Nation aerial mapping and bathymetric surveying project posed many challenges for the Caltech team. The project area was approximately 7.5 square miles and located in a relatively remote area. Winter was fast approaching and a late season forest fire quickly brought in thick smoke that reduced visibility. Topography was a factor in that region as the banks of the Chitek River are very steep and access into the area was impeded.

Due to the project size, topography and weather conditions, the use of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) was not feasible and the project would not have been completed on schedule. Instead, Caltech opted to conduct a helicopter-based aerial survey to collect lidar and 3-band color imagery. A ground-based survey was also performed where field crews surveyed Quality Assurance (QA) check points. This data was used to verify that the aerial mapping product accuracy exceeded project specifications.

In addition to the aerial mapping and QA components of the project, Caltech also surveyed 31 bathymetric cross sections spanning the Chitek River. Utilizing our extensive experience in collecting bathymetric survey data in remote locations, Caltech completed this survey using RTK-GNSS and Single Beam Echo Sounder (SBES). A bridge survey was also completed on the Highway 698 bridge crossing over the Chitek River.

Caltech’s specific project deliverables included:
  • Classified lidar LAS files
  • Digital Elevation Model (DEM)
  • Shaded Relief Model
  • Orthorectified Mosaic Image
  • Point file with all ground surveyed points
  • KMZ comprised of all ground surveyed points with embedded coordinate tables and imagery

Our aerial mapping services collect data in the challenging terrains, providing accurate, cost-effective, safe and speedy results every time.


Caltech mobilized to the project area within one week of project award, and was able to successfully collect all data before conditions deteriorated due to forest fires and winter weather. Data was processed and delivered weeks ahead of the deadline.

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