October 5

4 Benefits of Using Drones to Survey Land

Blog, News & Events


Land surveying involves taking measurements of a particular piece of land before a construction project begins. Much planning and design are involved before crews break ground.  Surveyors take these measurements and gather data to determine the features and boundaries of a property.

Almost every property development project begins with a land survey. Surveys provide critical information that enables informed decision-making ranging from construction site planning to design and upkeep of infrastructure, and more. High-tech surveying equipment is used along with a lot of mathematics to create maps and measurements of the land.

One piece of equipment that is used is for this purpose a drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Drones provide a more complete picture of the work being done. With a drone, topographic surveys can be developed of the same quality using traditional methods.

Advantages of Drone Technology

Surveying land with a drone captures aerial data with downward-facing sensors. These sensors can be used to photograph the land several times from different angles. Drones have been successfully integrated into land surveying because of their ability to capture data from above and provide different types of maps.

Other advantages of using drones for land surveying include:

1. Decreased Field Time and Costs

Larger sites can take days and sometimes weeks for land surveyors to compile information using traditional methods. Collecting this same data via a drone technology saves time. Capturing topographic data with a drone is up to five times faster than with land-based methods.

2. Less Disruptions

Since drones are capturing data from above, operations on site won’t be interrupted.

Using a drone also requires less manpower. There’s no need to place multiple specialists at a site when you have a drone to survey the land. You do not need to close down highways or train tracks. You can capture data during a project operation using a drone without disruptions.

3. More Accurate Data and Precise Measurements

Drone cameras take a series of high-definition photos at different angles, creating thousands of accurate data points, including geo-references, elevation points, and colors. This allows developers to create 3D models of a site or building. Clients can see more than what a traditional survey provides.

The maps created from using data from a drone can be used to extract highly accurate distances and volumetric measurements. When a drone is integrated with surveying land, the data looks more realistic. The videos and photos taken from the drone are a great resource for clients and the public when a new commercial project is in the works.

4. Maps Inaccessible Areas

Land surveying can be a dangerous job. Drone surveys eliminate the need for surveyors to traverse unknown terrain. This helps avoid high-risk situations navigating areas such as rail lines or rocky terrains.

Drones are especially useful in gathering data in hard to reach locations or vantage points that are inaccessible. A drone can fly almost anywhere and can take on steep slopes and harsh areas unsuitable for traditional measuring tools.

Main Uses for Drones in Surveying

aerial view with drone

Drone surveying produces quality results quickly, profitably, and safely. They can fly at lower altitudes which makes collecting data more accurate, faster, and less expensive, even with undesirable atmospheric conditions such as cloud cover.  Drones are used in construction projects all around us.

Cartography: Drones generate high-resolution 3D models of land areas which enables accurate maps to be produced quickly.

Land Management and Development: Aerial images taken by drones simplify surveys for land management and planning. Site scouting, as well as the design and, construction of roads, buildings, and utilities all benefit from drone surveying.

Stockpile Volumetric Measurements: The images from drones help obtain volume measurements. Drones help calculate stocks in mines and quarries for inventory and monitoring.

Slope Monitoring: Drone imagery makes it possible to extract slope measurements. Knowing the steepness of the ground’s surface helps monitor and detect changes in the earth’s movement. This data can help predict landslides and prevent potential damage to roads, railways, and bridges.

Urban Planning: The development of dense urban areas requires planning and time-consuming data collection. With the help of drones, city planners can collect large amounts of data. The images produced allows planners to examine environmental conditions on different sites within the area.

Trust the Drone Surveying Professionals

At Pickett, Ray, & Silver, our FAA-licensed commercial drone pilots are experienced in managing the drone survey process. Our team of registered Professional Land Surveyors will analyze the data to help you plan your project.

We have experience in all phases of surveying for the successful completion of any project. Contact us today to get started on your next project.


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