• Fred Birkbeck

Going the extra mile (well, 60 metres up anyway)

Darnley Archaeological Services were recently asked to carry out a Desk-based assessment of the church of St James the Great in East Malling, Maidstone, Kent in advance of some development work.


The Desk-based Assessment is used by the Local Planning Authority to assess the implications of a development to the potential archaeology. Darnley conducted the usual site visit but also employed the Darnley Drone to conduct some analysis of the immediate area around the church.


Fred shows the client the flight plan

The drone was able to give us valuable information about the church itself and a close up view of the materials used in the construction of certain phases such as the tufa (common Roman and early medieval building material) around the clock face. Another key to unlocking the phases of construction and development of the site was the elevation model which gave us the levels of the land surrounding the church, specifically the area in which the church building and toilet block are proposed. This very clearly showed the manual levelling of the land that occurred to the north of the church building. Due to the high resolution photos, we were even able to point out a problem with the roof which might have resulted in some expensive damage.


Elevation model showing the topography of the site

Scale








Everyone knows about the images and videos that can be produced using the drone but it can offer so much more if you have the right equipment, expertise and knowledge to apply the technology to your project. What's more, the flight took 9 minutes to complete wheras a Digital Terrain Model using a GNSS land survey tool with elevation points taken at intervals would have taken the best part of half a day. Instead of all the asssociated cost of hiring a specialist, the rental of equipment and time at the desktop afterwards processing the data, Darnley were able to produce the model within an hour of returning to the office thus saving the client money.


You can check out the full report on our website and if you would like to chat to us about how the drone can work for your business, educational institution or volunteer project give Fred a call on 07719 439 429

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