Archaeology - use of drones

Archaeologists use drones to speed up pre-site survey work and to record / protect sites by listing them on national Archaeology databases.

Drones can fly at set altitude to map and scan large or small areas. 3D mapping can provide precise coordinates of interest, for later detailed scrutiny.

Latest drone technology now goes way beyond aerial photography, so can save considerable time. 

SENSYS MagDrone is a Fluxgate magnetometer system and therefore is able to detect any magnetic metals/materials.


It is applicable to:

  • Archaeology
  • Surveying for any metal objects weighing a few hundred grams or heavier lying underground.
  • Site Mapping

The integrated system combines a drone with a sensitive magnetometer SENSYS MagDrone R3 and a precise altimeter for True Terrain Following mode.


Using a magnetometer on a drone enables the user to scan the area and detect metals many times faster than handheld devices and allows obtaining geo-referenced maps of the area.

Survey large areas and leave potential archaeology sites undisturbed with the MagArrow.

Geology: Survey for regional variations in the magnetic field with the MagArrow.

Reach Inaccessible Terrain: Thanks to high sensitivity, difficult of dangerous terrain is no problem for the MagArrow, making it perfect for surveying wetlands, heavily vegetated areas, extreme terrain, or protected lands.



Super-Fast Sampling Rate (1000Hz): Fly faster, up to 10 m/s with samples every 1 cm. Filter out UAV motor noise.

Low Battery Consumption: A single 1800 mAh lithium polymer battery will power the system for 2 hours, outlasting multiple UAV flights. Batteries are hot-swappable.

Lightweight: Weighs only 1 kg, allowing a long flight time for typical drones like DJI M600 Pro.

UAS Agnostic: Attachable to most enterprise UASs.

Self-Contained: GPS, storage, and WiFi on board. No data connections to UAV needed.



The system consists of the MagArrow magnetometer mounted on a drone. Survey missions are planned and flown in automatic mode with UgCS. The adding of the onboard computer UgCS SkyHub enables the drone to fly in True Terrain Following (TTF) mode with the help of the radar altimeter and logs precise flight track to refine MagArrow's data.

UAV: DJI M600Pro or similar

UgCS SkyHub: Manages True Terrain Following mode and logs precise flight track.

UgCS: Drone mission planning and flight control software for challenging conditions.

Altimeter: Precise radar altimeter to fly automatically in True Terrain Following (TTF) mode.



Goal: to detect metallic items on the bottom/under bottom of the lake. Technology: MagArrow integrated with a drone equipped with a radar altimeter. 

Flight Control: UgCS with True Terrain Following mode.


Other Drone Solutions: 

We also supply the Magdrone R3

Specialist Equipments:

To achieve good results, and for the safety of the drone, it is vital to control precise low altitude over the ground surface. For the metal detector recommended flight altitude is 0.5...1.0 m between sensor coil and the ground. We use a high-frequency radar altimeter with precision 2cm and a special terrain-following algorithm to keep the altitude of the drone constant during automatic survey missions.  

On-board computer  

The heart of the integrated system is UgCS SkyHub – a small and powerful onboard computer with special software. 

The first function of this onboard computer is to maintain a constant altitude of the drone over the surface using data from the radar altimeter. Standard DJI drones do not have such function and rely on a barometric altimeter for altitude control. Unfortunately, it is not a precise sensor and altitude drift per single flight can be up to several meters.  

The second function of the onboard computer is to store metal detector measurements in geotagged form. To geotag data, the UAV’s GPS receiver is used. If the drone is equipped with an RTK/PPK receiver, data points will have coordinates with precision down to centimeters.  

Measurements are stored in simple textual CSV format with coordinates allowing the import to a variety of software capable to process XYZ data (Surfer, Oasis Montaj).  

Data logging begins automatically after take-off and stops after landing.