These days, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can be spotted above the historic Amer Fort, located on a hill about 11 km from Jaipur. A similar activity can be seen between 11 am and 1 pm over the Kumbalgarh Fort on the westerly range of the Aravalli Hills in Rajasthan. The UAVs or drones, as they are better known, circle the area around the two historic monuments recording every piece of information not visible to the human eye. The information collected by the drones will help the Rajasthan government create a complete 3D replica of the historic monuments. This 3D model on the computer can be used for re-construction and planning for maintenance of the two hill forts — both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The drones are being deployed by Quidich Innovation Labs as part of the Rajasthan government’s efforts to digitise its monuments and ease their conservation and preservation. “Traditional equipment aims laser beams at surfaces, records the reflected light and reconstructs a 3D image of the space. Instead, the images and video from drones allow the inspection of a high level wall top or roof more accurately. You can get the 3D view from the top and that is a critical problem that drones solve,” Quidich founder and CEO Mr Rahat Kulshreshtha told BusinessLine. In the picturesque Diu district of the Daman and Diu, the administration has invited tenders for a similar project to use technology and drones to survey Fort Diu, built in 1535 by the Portugese. “There is a lot of active perusal of mapping large heritage sites for tourism, records, measurements and analysis purposes,” says Mr Ankit Mehta, co-founder and CEO of drone-maker ideaForge Technology. He points out that traditional laser scanning has resolution limitations and does not offer colours. “In photogrammatery (using drones), you click multiple series of images within a short span and a software stitches them back. The result is images in all of their colour and texture. You can reach a very low resolution,” he says. Moreover, drones also capture other data for survey and conservation work.
The other big advantage of using drones is reduction in costs as well as time. Typically, drone service providers charge ₹1,500-2,000 to survey an area of one hectare. The cost of using laser technology in the same area will be at least three to four times this amount.
“Also, the work that earlier took 6-8 eight months can be done in less than a week of data collection through drones,” says Mr Kulshreshtha.