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Drone Surveys

Detect the invisibleInnovative drone solutions..

At the forefront of technology, Terra Sana Consultants utilise Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones for a range of surveys including methane fugitive emission detection, visual and thermal imagery inspections of natural assets and industrial infrastructure.

The use of drones enables us to collect data, safely and efficiently, in inaccessible or “difficult to access” sites.


Better data for better decisions…

When associated with GIS database technology, the use of drones has increased Terra Sana Consultants data acquisition and presentation capability.  We provide our clients with high definition visual information to improve data interpretation and decision making…follow us out of the box…

Explore our drones services:

Methane fugitive emissions surveys


As investors and shareholders are actively demanding companies to reduce emissions from within their own organization, as well as from their suppliers and end-users, the need to efficiently detect and accurately quantify methane fugitive emissions is becoming more and more important, as methane is a potent greenhouse gas.

Detection of methane fugitive emissions using drones has numerous applications and advantages when compared to the surveys conducted from the ground.

Terra Sana Consultants provides methane fugitive emissions detection using drones equipped with a sensor able to instantaneously detect methane concentration and geo-reference the results.

Using geostatistical analysis, the data can be mapped to displaying the locations of the methane detections within an hour from landing the drone.


Industry applications:

Landfill gas

To comply with the environmental legislation, landfills’ operators are required to undertake regular methane fugitive emissions monitoring. Landfill gas monitoring is normally conducted by a walking survey carrying handheld detectors. This is not a safe and efficient approach. Personnel walking on landfills surface can be exposed to toxic emissions and dust, are required to walk on uneven ground, nearby exposed refuses.

The data produced during a walkover survey are normally lacking georeference, therefore large areas are normally missed due to access restriction, sensor delay response time and human bias. Detectors used for landfill gas monitoring are normally fitted with a pump that withdraws a sample of ambient air and carries it to a sensor. There is a delay of several seconds between the sampling and the sensor response time. This delay makes difficult and inaccurate to re-trace back the detection to an exact location. TSC drones provide a safer and more efficient approach to landfill gas monitoring. The operator is not required to access the landfill area, a data point is collected every 0.1 seconds and each data point is geolocated. The flight path is reproducible so each survey can be comparable with the previous.

Coal seam gas

CSG infrastructures like gas pipelines, wellheads, vents, and flares require regular fugitive emission surveys to plan the correct maintenance and assure safe operating conditions. Methane detection conducted from drones can provide a cost-effective, safe alternative to a drive survey. Difficult to access area can be easily reached with the drone.

Gas seeps are naturally occurring systems where gas escape to the surface, normally under low pressure. Methane detection using drones is an efficient method to identify and characterize gas land seeps.

Legacy boreholes are normally historic exploration holes on land where the tenure has now ended or changed. In recent years, the relevant government departments developed codes and standards to outline the requirements regarding abandonment of existing exploration or production bores, but these requirements were not in effect for historical bores.

These boreholes represent a liability if they have not been properly rehabilitated by the previous authority holder. TSC can successfully identify and geolocate legacy holes.


Fugitive methane detection using drones has been successfully used to identify methane surface emissions from underground mines. Methane fugitive emissions collected above the ground surface of underground coal mine have been correlated with underground goafs oxygen measurements.

The oxygen in the air once underground can interact with the residual coal in the goaf. This can lead to a rapid escalation of a spontaneous combustion event.

Spontaneous combustion in the goafs of longwall is a serious hazard with the potential to lead to mine abandonment or prolonged production suspension. Investigations of past incidents have identified air passages created within the coal mine, due to the overlying strata fracturing and subsiding with the advancement of underground tunneling, as one of the possible causes of spontaneous combustion.


The avoidance of methane emissions is very important in biogas operations to assure plant safety, environmental sustainability and avoid revenue loss. UAVs can provide a reliable inspection and measuring tool to identify any plume.

The use of a drone is proposed as a:

  • safe ;
  • cost-effective ;
  • time-efficient ;
  • un-biased ; and
  • flexible

means of quantification and leak detection

3D Mapping, photogrammetry and volumetric calculations.

Geo-referenced orthomosaic maps, aerial surveys, volumetric analysis, 3D modelling, elevation plots, slope analysis, etc.

  • Geo-referenced orthomosaics
  • Photogrammetry (volumetric and slope measurements)
  • Point cloud generation (3D modelling)
  • Digital surface modelling (DSM)
  • Digital terrain modelling (DTM)
  • Project progress photography
  • Volumetric and stockpile analysis
  • Environmental impact assessments
  • Watershed analysis

We also offer powerful cloud-based tools, enabling you to measure lengths, areas and volumes, track changes over time, and share your data with ease.

Asset inspection

Inspect your assets via live HD video feed and capture high-resolution images of your difficult to reach assets without the need for rope access or possibly shutting down your assets, providing you with extensive data sets for your analysis and records. As a result, you can inspect your assets more often, allowing you to focus your corrective and preventative maintenance activities where they are needed most. Not only will this drastically reduce your costs over time, but it removes your workers from hazardous areas and greatly improves the health and safety within your business.

Thermal Imaging Survey and Inspection

Thermal allows you to spot problems before they become serious

Underground coal fire

Underground coal fire

Infrared inspection, or thermography, is used throughout industry as a key diagnostic tool for finding problems. Infrared inspection is a nondestructive, non-contact and cost-effective way to detect and document hot spots before they become serious.

  • Building diagnostics: Find areas of heat loss, missing insulation, and other damage
  • See water damage not visible with the naked eye
  • Search and rescue: Find fire hotspots, missing people and animals day or night
  • Gas leak detection
  • Electrical inspections: solar panel inspections, electrical defaults and powerline inspections.

Get imagery beyond the visual spectrum, a whole new vantage point using Infrared Spectrum.

Spontaneous combustion from underground coal fires

Spontaneous combustion of coal and resulting coal fires causes a huge waste of energy, halting mine production and produces harmful gases that are life-threating to workers and local residents. Its by-products, the greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4, exacerbate global warming. Underground coal fire has also led to surface subsidence and produced a large number of surface fissures. Thus, the early detection of coal fires and its spatial distribution is crucial so that the fire disaster can be prevented as early as possible.

Terra Sana Consultants have demonstrated that the application of UAV-borne thermal imaging provides a quick, efficient and safe way to detect, visualize and describe the spatial distribution of underground coal fires. Areas otherwise not accessible, due to topography or fire-induced cracks, for instance, can easily be investigated without putting workers at risk. In combination with our airborne methane surveys and 3D mapping (for subsidence monitoring) services, we can provide an integrative assessment for investigation purposes.

Training, Consulting & Development

Develop your own drone data capability with our training, consulting and development services in partnership with Ace Aviation.

  • Photo & video aerial training.
  • Aerial mapping & surveying
  • Precision agriculture
  • Aerial thermal imaging



What are the advantages of using drones?

  • Cost-effectiveness and productivity

Drones provide an opportunity to increase productivity and safety compared to  – traditional surveying. Tasks that used to take days or weeks using traditional equipment with the drone can be finalised in  just few hours.

Operators are removed from the site activities and as the data are collected from a high point, downtime is reduced.

  • Safe Solutions

The use of drones improve safety as personnel are removed from the operating areas.

Data can be easily collected from inaccessible or “difficult to access” areas like landfills slopes, hazardous areas and confined spaces.

Terra Sana Consultants holds a Civil Aviation Safety Authority license (CASA.ReOC.1335) and are fully Insured for public liability and professional indemnity and operate under a civil aviation compliant Safety Management System (SMS).