UAV Rail & Infrastructure

A revolutionary new service from the surveying experts at Plowman Craven, Vogel R3D is a unique, UAV-based system that enables the comprehensive surveying of rail infrastructure to a sub-5mm accuracy in a fraction of the time of a traditional survey.

The application of the Vogel R3D system is a real game-changer for Network Rail and helps us to satisfy many of our survey requirements in a safe manner without the cost implications or potential programme delays associated with multiple possessions.

Chris Preston, Senior Engineer, Network Rail

Accuracy, Safety & Efficiency

Able to cover even the busiest and most inaccessible areas of the rail network from a working height of 25m, Vogel R3D can capture data from a position of safety even during traffic hours, removing the need for possessions and line blocks, and drastically reducing the exposure of workers to risk. The result is a shortening of programme times and significant cost savings.

Developed from years of expertise in laser scanning and photogrammetry, and underpinned by robust survey principles, this ground-breaking system uses a state-of-the-art UAV platform and 100-megapixel camera to capture overlapping aerial images of an entire site.

Bespoke workflows and software algorithms are then used to convert the imagery into 3D data – to an accuracy that is superior to any other method of data capture, including even static laser scanning and train or trolley-based kinematic scanning systems.

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Vogel R3D – EF28 Sleeper - Zoomed In

Enhanced Deliverables

  • Track alignments for P-way design
  • Topographical surveys
  • 3D point clouds
  • Building Information Models
  • Orthophotos
  • High-resolution imagery for asset inspection
  • Site visualisations & TruView
Vogel R3D – The Future of Rail Surveying

Tangible Benefits

  • Less Risk - removes the need to physically access the track
  • Less Cost – reduces the expense of possessions and line blocks
  • Less Time – shortens programmes as data capture is significantly faster
  • More Speed – rapid mobilisation means no waiting for next available possession
  • More Value – high definition photography supplements current survey deliverables
  • More Accuracy – proven to deliver sub-5mm accuracy


Infrastructure Surveying

Vogel R3D is also perfectly suited to infrastructure surveying where access is difficult including

  • Bridges & Viaducts
  • Waterways & Ports
  • Oils Rigs & Power Stations
  • Renewable Energy
  • Highways & Transport

Data-Backed, Proven Accuracy

Trials have been undertaken to prove the accuracy of Vogel R3D and compare the data to traditional survey techniques. Vogel R3D meets Network Rail’s Band 1 accuracy requirements and is suitable for track alignment and topographic survey at all GRIP stages.

Safety, Trust & Experience

With enhanced flying permissions from the Civil Aviation Authority and five-star RISQS rating, Plowman Craven is already an industry-leader in the provision of Rail survey data. The Vogel R3D system has been trialled by Network Rail and survey accuracy results approved. Contact us today to find out how we can help on your next project.

New Vogel R3D