How are drones being used for surveying?

Drones use multiple sensors at different angles to create thousands of precise data points, including geographical references, elevation points, and colors. These data points can then be assimilated into a 3D point cloud to give the surveyor or client a unique perspective and vision of the project. Reconnaissance drones generate high-resolution orthomosaics and detailed 3D models of areas where low-quality, outdated or even data is available. In this way, they make it possible to produce high-precision cadastral maps quickly and easily, even in complex or difficult to access environments.

Surveyors can also extract elements from images, such as signs, curbs, road signs, fire hydrants and drains. Drones are becoming a powerful tool within the cartographic and topographic industry. They can perform 3D mapping, topographic surveys, photogrammetry and topography work effectively when flying above the ground. This information is then used to help make critical decisions about infrastructure maintenance, construction site planning, and delimiting property boundaries.

Drones use built-in cameras to take pictures of the ground from different angles. Each image is labeled with geographical coordinates using an integrated GNSS system. These coordinates are “compared to known points on the ground” using RTK (real-time kinematics) or PPK (post-processing kinematics) workflows to improve accuracy. The versatility of drones allows them to reach areas and perform tasks that would otherwise be impossible for humans to perform, so they are used in different industries for topography.

A drone study refers to the use of a drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), to capture aerial data with downward-facing sensors, such as RGB or multispectral cameras and LIDAR loads. Whether you're actively interested in creating a drone topography program for your workplace or just want to learn more about some of the many uses of drones, you've come to the right place. Orthomosaic and digital surface model created from aerial images taken by the WingtraOne topographic and cartographic drone. In this step, the operator basically ensures that no one approaches the drone during takeoff or landing and that the weather conditions remain optimal for the reconnaissance mission.

Aerial images taken by drones greatly accelerate and simplify topographic studies for land management and planning. Software like Propeller not only includes a complete set of tools that help provide the most accurate and efficient drone surveying process possible. The use of drones can accelerate mine studies 20 times compared to traditional methods carried out on the ground. Drones are capable of carrying out topographic studies with the same precision as traditional methods, but in a fraction of the time.

Yes and no, a better answer to this question would be that drones are not wiping out surveyors, but are radically changing the way inspections are done. Drones can perform topographic surveys with the same precision as traditional methods, but in a fraction of the time and cost. During a drone study with an RGB camera, the floor is photographed several times from different angles and each image is labeled with coordinates. Unlike traditional topographic methods, which can take days or weeks to produce results, drones can achieve the same results in hours.

Thanks to its ease of use, reliable accuracy and positive effect on worker safety, many contractors are moving from traditional topography of bases and explorers to drone topography. Like other technologies that have revolutionized industries, drone topography will not eliminate surveyors, but will dramatically change the methods of surveying, the skills and tools with which surveyors must be trained to remain competitive.