The process used to perform land and site surveys and mapping has evolved over time. What used to be accomplished mostly through GPS is now being done using drones to capture low level aerial photography and topography.
How Drones Are Used for Surveying
A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, operated by a certified FAA pilot. They generate high-resolution, detailed 3D models of areas where low-quality, outdated or even no data are available. They allow surveyors to more quickly collect data with greater accuracy.
Benefits of Drone Technology
Using drones in land surveys offers great potential for survey professionals and their clients.
- Time – Traditional surveying methods require meticulous measurements, preparation and planning. Drones can capture the same level of survey data in a fraction of the time.
- Cost – Because the surveying process can be completed in a much shorter time period, the costs to clients are less.
- Accuracy – Drones capture detailed data, even in environments that are complex or difficult to access. The detailed images allow surveyors to obtain more information on the site, extract features like lane striping in parking areas, power poles, signage, road markers and curbs with minimal field time.
- Safety – By using a drone to fly over the area, humans are no longer required to physically trudge through hazardous terrain or areas which are inaccessible. Surveyors don’t need to access building rooftops or climb spoils piles or steep terrain to get accurate information. This reduces the risk of injuries.
- Efficiency – Drones can now do the work of several surveying tools previously used to achieve the same results. They operate without all the heavy lifting and labor that was traditionally required of surveying professionals.
Urban Planning and New Urbanism
Most urban areas are densely populated and have many obstacles. Performing surveying operations to collect data can require intensive planning and time-consuming procedures using traditional methods and tools.
Using drones will produce more precise data in a short period of time with minimal interruptions. The images allow urban planners to consider different scenarios because of their detailed data. The 3D models from the drone surveys allows planners to easily overlay building structures onto the plans for an overall perspective of a multi-use development project.
To use drones for commercial surveying, they must be operated by a drone pilot with a specific FAA drone certification. They must pass a rigorous aeronautical knowledge test that covers the following topics:
- Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
- Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
- Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
- Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
- Emergency procedures
- Crew resource management
- Radio communication procedures
- Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
- Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
- Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
- Airport operations
- Maintenance and pre-flight inspection procedures
Once the pilot successfully passes the knowledge exam, they must apply for the certification. FAA pilots are certified for two years and are required to be re-certified to remain current with FAA rules and requirements.
Pickett, Ray & Silver Uses the Latest Technology
At Pickett, Ray & Silver, we understand that using the latest technology produces better results for our customers. Our surveying crews, which includes two FAA certified drone pilots, will quickly gather all 3D images and detailed data that allows us to make more accurate plans and designs.
Contact us today for all your land surveying needs.