RIEGL's BathyCopter is a sUAV-based surveying system for hydrographic applications ideally suited for generating profiles of inland water bodies.



The roboust and reliable platform design of RIEGL's remotely piloted RiCOPTER now integrates the new RIEGL BDF-1, a compact and lightweight bathymetric depth finder comprising of tilt compensator, an IMU/GNSS unit with antenna, a control unit and up to two external digital cameras. The BDF-1 can optionally be equipped with a miniVUX-1UAV LiDAR sensor.

The device sends out laser pulses at a rate of 4 kHz. The echo signal of each laser pulse is digitized and recorded for the entire range gate of 50m. That means, that predetection averaging of the waveforms can be performed in post processing, increasing the depth performance.

Subsequently the waveforms are processed by RIEGL's new and patented hydrographic full waveform processing algorithm based on exponential decomposition. Finally data sets with high accuracy, high range resolution, and hydrography-specific attributes are provided which support point classification.



Bathymetric Lidar is the most effective and cost-efficient technology to capture both the land and seafloor simultaneously to provide a continuous, detailed 3D elevation model along the coastline.

Bathymetric Lidar systems use a green wavelength of 532nm to penetrate the water column for measuring the seafloor.

Bathymetric Lidar sensors can be simplified into four major components:

  • the GPS receiver which gives the aircraft position
  • the inertial measurement unit (IMU) which gives the roll, pitch and yaw of the aircraft
  • the laser scanner which emits the signal in a particular pattern
  • the sensor which reads the returning signal.

Knowing the position and orientation of all these components enables accurate measurements to be recorded by the Lidar system. Some of these sensors can now measure more than 100,000 points per second, resulting in surveys with over 10 points per m2 in shallow water.


  • Generation of profiles of inland water bodies (rivers, lakes, channels)
  • Repeated survey of water reservoirs
  • Canal surveying
  • Landscaping
  • Surveys for planning and hydraulic engineering work