The use of drones is becoming increasingly widespread across a huge range of industries and fields. According to a study, the global drone services market is expected to reach USD 63.6 billion by 2025.
One important sector that this technology has influenced greatly is the aerial surveying of land for construction and development projects.
Drones can cover more areas in much less time and that is why they are being used to generate 2D orthomosaics as well as 3D maps with high precision. Using drones for aerial surveys and monitoring reduces the cost of surveys as well as the workload of experts in the field.
In this article, we are going to discuss why drones are effective for surveys and what are the main applications in which you can take benefit from this amazing technology.
What is Meant by a Drone Survey?
In a drone survey, a UAV or an unmanned aerial vehicle is used to gather geospatial data. The data is gathered with the help of downward-facing sensors including RGB or multispectral cameras and LIDAR payloads.
When using RGB cameras, images of the ground are taken from different angles and positions and then the coordinates of each image are associated with it.
Photogrammetry helps you combine different images of the same point taken from different vantage points to get detailed 2D and 3D maps. The biggest benefit of UAVs over satellites is that they can fly at a much lower level which leads to high-resolution and high-accuracy data at a much lower cost.
Drone Surveys vs Traditional Surveys
|Drone Surveys||Traditional Surveys|
|Cost||Drones are relatively inexpensive and cost-effective||Traditional surveys can be costly|
|Time||Drones can cover large areas quickly||Traditional surveys may take longer to cover large areas|
|Accuracy||Drones can provide highly accurate data||Traditional surveys may be subject to human error|
|Accessibility||Drones can access difficult-to-reach areas easily||Traditional surveys may be limited by terrain and access|
|Safety||Drones can reduce risk to personnel in hazardous areas||Traditional surveys may pose risks to personnel|
Major Use Cases for Drone Surveying
Drones have various use cases and applications when it comes to surveying and the following are just a few of these
Drone topographic surveys involve the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to capture high-resolution imagery and data about the Earth’s surface for creating topographic maps and models.
Drone topography surveys are faster, more accurate, and cost-effective compared to traditional methods, offering increased access to remote areas and improved safety.
Here is a brief overview of the topography methods using drones:
Photogrammetry: Drones capture high-resolution imagery for creating orthomosaics, DEMs, and contour lines using triangulation and image-matching techniques.
LiDAR: Drones equipped with laser sensors create precise point clouds for accurate elevation measurements.
RTK GPS: Drones use high-precision GPS receivers for real-time kinematic positioning with centimeter-level accuracy.
Multispectral/Hyperspectral imaging: Drones capture imagery in multiple bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to extract information about vegetation health, soil moisture, and other environmental factors.
Land Surveys and Development
Land surveys are often needed when you have to assess some place for building roads, skyscrapers, gas pipelines, etc. With drone technology, cartographers can create maps with very minute details. Drones can be used to detect possible landslides and they can help enable an accurate and consistent deployment as well as the use of the available resources.
Drones can be useful for data collection as well as modeling for urban planning. Technologies like LIDAR allow you to overlay buildings on a 3D model which helps the developers and planners in getting a more detailed and realistic view of the development.
You can extract slope measurements from Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), and Digital Surface Models (DSMs) created using drones. This helps you assess the steepness of the ground and ensures accurate classification of the areas with very high slopes. This helps with the planning of landslide mitigation and prevention.
Orthomosaics taken from drones at different times can help detect changes in the movement of the earth and the velocity of this displacement. This information helps with landslide prediction and stops potential damage to bridges, roads, and residential areas.
Benefits of Drones in Surveying
Following are some of the main benefits of employing drones for surveys
Reduce Costs and Save Time
Capturing topographic data for surveys using drones is about five times faster than land-based methods. The drones are cheaper and they require less manpower for data collection which saves a lot of time and costs.
Accurate Data Collection
Drone surveys produce thousands of measurements that can be represented in different formats. This gives you accurate 3D data in orthomosaic, point cloud, contour lines, DTM, and DSM formats. The images you get have very high resolution and the measurements you get based on these are always precise.
Map the Remote and Inaccessible Locations
With drones, you can access unreachable locations, harsh and unsafe terrains, steep slopes, and other places which cannot be mapped using traditional tools and techniques. You don’t even need an organisational overhead for data collection if you use drones for surveys.
Drones allow you to take images of remote places that are very hard to access without risking your life. You can use drones to assess the damage in natural disaster zones and to determine the progress of your construction projects without having to go into the site.
Drones can be equipped with mapping tools to automate the land surveying processes. You can use mapping software to automate the flight plan of the drone which enables you to collect data at a much quicker speed.
The onboard mapping tools used in these drones can piece together the collected data to generate 3D models of the area. This eliminates the need for additional processing of the data saving plenty of your time and resources.
Drones help maximise your efficiency when conducting aerial surveys. They enable you to collect high-quality data that you can analyse to make informed decisions.
This technology makes it possible for you to map places that are beyond your reach. Using drones, you can cover a large piece of land in very little time and without needing any help from anyone else.
GIS Drones is a trusted choice for drone surveys and monitoring services in Dubai, UAE. Contact us for professional drone survey services to streamline your project progress monitoring processes.