What’s next for drones in Land Surveying

Feb - 24
2021

What’s next for drones in Land Surveying

Aerial mapping isn’t new- drones and their cameras have been available to Land Survey operations since the FAA cleared Part 107 Piloting in 2016. But after 5 years- how have we advanced the use of UAV, and what comes next?

  • The technology: putting the best eye in the sky

Today at RE&LS we are flying a DJI Inspire 2 with a Zenmuse X4S camera featuring a 20 megapixel, 1-inch sensor that captures photos with extremely low distortion. For starters, the flight capability of this drone is impressive- over 4 miles of transmission distance-so it easily bypasses terrain challenges over large parcels of land and still delivers incredible quality images. Video records at 4K/60fps resolution for full HD quality output and uses with a 3-axis 320o rotating gimbal for complete coverage. The newest processing software lets us take photos from that video, or shoot still photos at 14 frames per second (fps) so not a single detail is missed.

  • UAV drones not just for Land Surveying

Our drone images are providing high-resolution photogrammetry that captures everything you see- landscape, buildings, and infrastructure. The next big job for drones is to put them in the field to capture the details you can’t see. Our drone cameras are going to be a popular tool for inspection services- think aerial inspections of water and communication towers, bridges, and hard to reach roofs. Anywhere we can protect the inspectors in these dangerous situations, a drone is going to provide you with high resolution data and lower risk.  At RE&LS we can provide inspectors with Virtual Reality Goggles to view the live drone feed in the field. Wearing the goggles, the inspector sees real time images and controls the direction of the camera simply by moving her head. No matter the conditions or challenges of the location the inspector is able to snap photos and capture video safely from the ground.

  • Digital data multi-tasks, saves time and money

UAV topographic maps are probably the first thing we all think of using our drones for- but you can get a lot more than mapping done with the data you get from that one flight. UAV photogrammetry can create 3D models of infrastructure, monitor job site development, assess damage estimates, or measure land erosion- all of these measurements come from the same data set. Our project managers will always show you where UAV pictures can multi-task for your project.

Here’s an example: RE&LS completed a drone survey of the newly built VA Medical Center in Henrietta, NY. The purpose of this survey was to record as-built conditions and to calculate volumes of earth moved during construction.  Using the drone, the field time needed to collect the data was a fraction of what would have been needed for a conventional survey. 

Plus, digital mapping and output has major benefits for your teams’ workflow- whether they are working remotely, maintaining social distance, or stationed across offices or states. All files can be viewed or shared with multiple team members instantly.

  • Experience matters- that’s why RE&LS is trusted by clients in every sector

UAV Survey is being used in many industries: Utilities (ask us about your solar and wind development plans), Construction, Public Works, Agriculture, Insurance, Conservation, and more. RE&LS drone pilots are our same field technicians who have been delivering professional surveying operations for years. Adding the drone technology to their traditional survey tools means we can offer a whole picture approach to your surveying project.

RE&LS Survey group offers you traditional, UAV, and Subsurface Utility Engineering to give you the clearest picture of what lies ahead- and underneath. Experience matters- and we know our technicians are trusted by our repeat clients time and again to provide reliable service.

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