UAV inspection & survey of Germany’s highest dam

26. June 2015

Reservoirs and dams today are part of a complex water industry systems. Thorough maintenance and complex servicing operations are highly safety critical. Reservoirs’ providers maintain, preserve and manage reservoires and dams according to the directives of the Federal Water Act. However material and plant inspections are still quite expensive. We successfully tested latest UAV technology to support that work quite efficient.

UAV- / Drone-based survey of the Rappbode Reservoire

AscTec Falcon 8 inspects Germany’s highest dam

The federal German state Sachsen-Anhalt alone count 32 constructions classified as reservoire / dam. Like the Rappbodetal Reservoirs most German reservoires and dams are located in the German low mountain range. From diverse perspectives and heights the complete concrete surface of the dam construction was surveyed by the lines. Within few hours the AscTec Falcon 8 operation was finished successfully. Automatic imaging series and the high-class payload Sony Alpha 7R granted efficiency and effectiveness.

The Rappbodetal Reservoire in numbers:

  • Construction height: 90 metres
  • Construction length: Crest 415 metres, base 78 metres
  • Construction volume: 860.000 cubic metres
  • Total reservoirs’ capacity: 113 mil. cubic metres
  • Inspection area concrete surface: 22.000 square metres

Measured values & data output:

  • Number of images: 1300
  • Dense point cloud: 220 mil. points
  • Faces: 43 mil.

A project in cooperation with:

  • Bauhaus-University Weimar (BUW)
  • Institute of Structural Engineering (Institut für Konstruktiven Ingenieurbau (IKI))
  • Chair of Modelling and Simulation of Structures (Prof. Dr. Guido Morgenthal)
  • Research Project “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for State Determination of Structures” 06/2013 – 02/2015

Supported by:

  • Chair of Computer Vision in Engineering (Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Volker Rodehorst)
  • Guido Morgenthal Technologien im Bauwesen


  • Morgenthal G., Hallermann, N.: Quality Assessment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Based Visual Inspection of Structures. Advances in Structural Engineering, Volume 17 No. 3 2014, pp. 289-302
  • Hallermann N., Morgenthal G. and Rodehorst V.: Vision-based deformation monitoring of large scale structures using Unmanned Aerial Systems 37th IABSE Symposium, Engineering for Progress, nature and People Madrid, Spain, 2014
  • Hallermann N., Morgenthal G.: Visual inspection strategies for large bridges using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) 7th IABMAS, International Conference on Bridge Maintanence, Safety and Management Shanghai, China, 2014

Please note: Ascending Technologies develops and produces multi-rotor and autopilot technology, but provides no service. For further information about UAV / drone-based survey and photogrammetry service, please directly contact Guido Morgenthal Technologien im Bauwesen:

+49 (0) 3643 54487-100 /// ///