Using a Drone to Survey, it’s just a picture! (NOT!)

Using a Drone to Survey, it’s just a picture! (NOT!)

Resistance to new technologies has never been more apparent than it is in the field of surveying. (i.e a Drone?) I think Surveyors could have stopped the Borg!

Drone to Survey
The Borg are a fictional alien race that appear as recurring antagonists in the Star Trek franchise. The Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones in a hive mind called “the Collective” or “the Hive”. “Resistance is futile” was their threat.

(Resistance is futile) How many of us know surveyors still using win 98 machines with a smartphone that still has physical buttons on the keypad? (or even a flip phone without internet or texting, lol) While I don’t know if an iPad will ever replace a Field Book, it has become apparent that even in a field as steeped in tradition and resistance to change as surveying, there is a place for a technology that actually works. Example, GPS technology. This tech has been reluctantly accepted nowadays by most surveyors, especially as prices become more and more affordable. Traditional 4 and 5 man crews are routinely replaced with lighter, faster 2-3 man crews using GPS technology.
While terms like “Photogrammetry” and “3D Modeling” have been around for a while, their use was dependent on the surveyor or engineer having access to pictures taken from altitude. The need for expensive cameras and airplanes to yield quality images at sufficient altitude left most to resort to the old ways. Namely, men and much time lugging expensive, delicate equipment cross-country in an effort to obtain data needed to calculate, draw and verify our work. Why not use a drone to survey?

With the advent of Drones (UAV’s) and advances to Digital Cameras (thanks in part to cameras on our phones some up to 12MP ), the modern surveyor now has affordable access to technologies once reserved for large engineering companies.

Our sister company Arkansas Drone Services, has made access to high resolution photos and videos readily available.

If you’re looking for more info on the use of Drones in surveying I’ve reposted several article on the subject below has published an interesting article entitled X,Y and Z made easy. They write:

There are several reasons why land surveyors are increasingly adding drones to their portfolio of instruments.

Firstly, using a drone can vastly reduce the time spent collecting accurate data. By acquiring raster data from the sky – in the form of geo-referenced digital aerial images, with resolutions as sharp as 1.5 cm (0.6 in) per pixel – you can gather millions of data points in one short flight.

More time still can be saved by using a survey-grade drone such as the eBee RTK.  Such GNSS/RTK receiver systems are effectively flying rovers, capable of receiving data corrections streamed from a base station or via VRS to achieve absolute X, Y, Z accuracy of down to 3 cm (1.2 in) – without needing Ground Control Points.

With collection made so simple, you can focus your energy on using and analysing data, rather than working out how to gather it.

With such a large increase in the amount of physical data being collected, this does mean an increase in office time spent processing and utilising this data. However this expansion is cancelled out many times over by the huge time savings a drone produces out in the field. Many of senseFly’s surveying customers say, for example, that large jobs that once took weeks can now be completed in just a few days, and that a week’s worth of traditional data collection is now achieved in just one day.

Last but not least, less time spent on the ground means staff safety is improved by minimising risk to surveying teams when measuring sites such as mines, unstable slopes and transport routes. Simply choose take-off and landing locations that are out of harm’s way. read complete article here