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  • Writer's pictureExtreme Aerial

What is Drone Surveying?




DJI M600Pro drone surveys by extreme aerial productions


Please note that drone surveying is a generalistic term - we specialize in aerial data collection and 80% of our projects we hire, coordinate with, and have an RLS (REGISTERED LAND SURVEYOR) check and be the final say in the data delivered.


In today's fast-paced world, industries are constantly seeking innovative methods to collect accurate and reliable data efficiently. One such groundbreaking approach is drone surveying, which employs unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with advanced sensors to capture high-resolution data. In this article, we'll explore the basic principles, benefits, and applications of drone surveying, highlighting its transformative impact on various industries.


What is Drone Surveying?

Drone surveying involves the use of unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with advanced sensors to collect data from above the ground. These UAVs are typically equipped with cameras, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, and GPS systems, which work together to capture high-resolution imagery and precise location information. 


The combination of advanced sensors, GPS technology, and specialized software allows drone surveying to be highly accurate and efficient. The ability to collect data from an aerial perspective provides a unique vantage point and allows for the surveying of large areas in a relatively short amount of time. 


This is particularly valuable in situations where traditional surveying methods would be impractical, time-consuming, or pose safety risks. With UAVs at their disposal, surveyors can now access remote areas or hazardous locations without breaking a sweat—or any safety regulations.


Basic Principles of Drone Surveying

Drone surveying relies on two critical principles: photogrammetry and LiDAR technology. Photogrammetry involves capturing images from the drone's camera and using them to create detailed 2D or 3D models of the surveyed area. LiDAR technology, on the other hand, uses laser sensors to measure distances and capture accurate elevation data. By combining these principles, drones can capture precise and comprehensive data from above.


Applications and Benefits of Drone Surveying

Drone surveying has revolutionized various industries by providing a cost-effective and efficient method of data collection and analysis. The applications and benefits of drone surveying are diverse and span across multiple sectors.


Enhancing Construction Projects with Accurate Data Collection

The construction industry often utilizes drone technology. By leveraging aerial surveys during site planning phases, project timelines get completed fast as drones perform work traditionally done on foot so much quicker. They're not just about speed though; by using multispectral cameras and lidar payloads, drones gather highly accurate representations of sites which helps keep everyone on the same page.


Precision in Topographic Mapping

Delineating property boundaries or crafting topographic relief maps? Drones come decked out with downward-facing sensors ready for any challenge. Thanks to their ability to acquire data from challenging terrains swiftly and safely, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) become richer repositories for critical decisions.


How Does Drone Surveying Work?

Drone surveying involves a systematic process that includes pre-flight planning, data collection, and post-processing of the collected data. Before a drone surveying mission, careful planning is essential to ensure a successful and productive survey. This includes defining survey objectives, determining the flight area, and considering factors such as weather conditions, airspace regulations, and safety precautions. The flight area is typically defined using mapping software, which allows surveyors to designate the boundaries and flight paths for the drone. 


Once the pre-flight planning is complete, the drone is deployed to collect data from the designated survey area. The drone is equipped with various sensors, including high-resolution cameras and LiDAR technology, depending on the specific data requirements of the survey.


During the flight, the drone follows a pre-programmed flight path or is operated manually by a remote pilot. The flight path is designed to ensure complete coverage of the survey area with overlapping images or LiDAR scans. The drone captures continuous images or LiDAR measurements at regular intervals, typically from different angles, to ensure high-quality and accurate data collection.


In addition to cameras and LiDAR, drones used for surveying are equipped with GPS systems, which accurately track the drone's position and movement. This georeferencing data is crucial for aligning and integrating the collected imagery and LiDAR data with other geospatial datasets.


After data collection, the next step is post-processing, where the collected data is transformed into useful and actionable information. Various software programs are used for this purpose, such as photogrammetry software for image processing and LiDAR software for point cloud analysis.


Comparisons Between Drone and Traditional Survey Methods

Drone surveying has emerged as a game-changer in collecting and analyzing data compared to traditional survey methods. When you pit drone surveying against traditional methods, it's like comparing a smartphone to a rotary dial—both can make calls, but the tech-savvy choice is clear as day. With drones, land surveys are no longer just about trudging through mud with bulky equipment. Drones not only capture data multiple times faster than human operators; they do so with incredible precision. Plus, it's a cost-effective solution without sacrificing any accuracy.


Additionally, drone surveying significantly improves safety by eliminating the need for surveyors to physically access hazardous or hard-to-reach areas. Drones can effortlessly fly over rugged terrains, steep slopes, or inaccessible sites, capturing data from above with minimal risk. This enhanced safety aspect is particularly beneficial for infrastructure inspections, where manual inspections can involve risky tasks like climbing tall structures or accessing remote locations.


Make Use of Drone Surveying

Drone surveys are revolutionizing data collection, providing us with precise information and a clear view of landscapes. They bring efficiency to the table, reducing project timelines by easily covering large areas in each flight. The accuracy of the point clouds generated from drone imagery allows for detailed land surveys that were once considered difficult or expensive to obtain. 


These flying gadgets enable site assessments to be conducted swiftly and safely, even in hazardous locations. No corner goes unseen, no detail is missed when using drones for surveying. If you're looking for faster results and more insightful planning in your surveying business or construction projects, it's time to embrace the power of drone technology. Contact us for more information about utilizing our drone surveying and inspection services*.


*Please note that drone surveying is a generalist term used in the UAS space - we specialize at Extreme Aerial Productions in aerial data collection with 80% of our projects we hire, coordinate with and have an RLS (REGISTERED LAND SURVEYOR) check and be the final say in the data collection methods and what is delivered to clients. We do not act as surveyors or purport that our data is survey grade – that is the job of the Survey companies we work with, hire and work for. 

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