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All You Need To Know About Drone Surveying

Over the past couple of decades, countless industries have had to adjust to a new way of working as a result of countless technological advancements, from the rise of the personal computer to text messages, smartphones, video calls, tablets, drones and many, many more.


Innovation is a crucial part of any industry or business, and we could spend all day telling you the great influence that many different innovations have had on industries across the globe. However, today we are going to focus on an innovation that is close to our hearts, and that is drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as they are also known. 


Technically, as a drone is classified as an unmanned aerial vehicle, the first recorded use can be dated back to 1849 when Austrian soldiers attacked the city of Venice with unmanned balloons filled with explosives! Since then, drones have been used for many military and reconnaissance reasons. The first iterations of drones as we know them today were developed in Britain and the USA during the first world war, though they were never actually used in the field. 


Despite their mainstream popularity, drones have only started to be used for non-military purposes in the past decade or so, with many commercial drone offerings really expanding in the past five years. Nowadays, drones are used by a host of professionals, including us here at Target Surveys – and we would even go as far as saying we don’t know what we’d do without them.


So whether you’re an experienced surveyor looking for an insight into a new innovation, a drone enthusiast or someone who is just genuinely interested in the application of this awesome technology, then read on and learn everything you need to know about drone surveying!


What Is Drone Surveying? 

Drone Surveys, or Drone Surveying, is simply a survey that is conducted using a drone. The drone is usually attached with an RBG or multispectral camera, allowing it to capture data and images of the landscape below. During a typical drone survey, the site or location is photographed multiple times and each image is usually tagged with coordinates and points.


Since they were first used, drones have gone on to become a vital piece of kit for surveyors throughout the country. Not only can they gather data in a safe and efficient manner, but they can also reach the most inaccessible, hazardous or large scale sites – from stretches of live rail or motorway to property portfolios and harsh landscapes. In some instances, these sites may have been impossible, or extremely impractical to survey before! 


We truly believe that every surveyor should have a drone in their surveying arsenal, and see them remaining a staple of the surveying industries for many years to come!


The Benefits Of Drone Surveying 

It’s more cost and time-efficient 

  • When compared to traditional surveying methods, drone surveys can capture comparable amounts of data in significantly shorter timeframes. Although normal surveying methods may be highly accurate, they also require meticulous measurements, preparation and planning. Drones can still provide high amounts of detail whilst covering large areas in a much more efficient manner. Furthermore, they require very little to no setup time. 


It provides extremely accurate and comprehensive data

  • When using a total station, you are only able to plot individual points at a time. However, with drones, one flight can produce thousands of unique measurements and points which can then be displayed in a format that is beneficial to you. As each measurement usually contains a coordinate, this data can be easily used to create a 3d model or point cloud. 


It allows the mapping of otherwise inaccessible areas

  • A drone can take off, fly and land almost anywhere – this allows surveyors to access and map locations that would have previously been unreachable. From reservoirs, quarries, slopes or any other examples of harsh terrain you can think of. As such, a drone allows surveyors to potentially take on projects that would have otherwise been impossible, and also provides them with a safer way of gathering data in some instances. 


Drone Surveying: Challenges & Controversies

As with many technologies or innovations, various challenges and controversies come as part of the package. For the drone industry, a majority of these challenges are connected to public opinion, as many people have privacy, security or safety concerns. A study carried out in December 2017 by Pew Research Center found that 54% of the public thinks drones should not be allowed to fly near people’s homes.


A few years back, there was also a security concern involving a drone flying into the airspace of Gatwick airport, something which happened multiple times and resulted in the airport being repeatedly closed toward the end of 2018. Although it might not sound like a big deal, these events halted all air travel and temporarily shut down the airport – causing widespread disruption. This also happened again at Heathrow and Newark Airport in New Jersey in early 2019. 


Other challenges include the energy consumption of the drone, which can become a limiting factor in terms of flight time and payload; in some cases, a task may not be feasible by drone but developments in new battery technology should offer a solution to this issue. 


Target Takes To The Sky! 


Despite public concern, we think that drones and drone surveying will play an important part in the construction industry for years to come. Not only are drones becoming more accessible than ever before, technological advancements means that they are becoming faster, stronger and have a longer range and lifespan. What do you think about drones? 


Enjoyed this blog post? Then don’t forget to bookmark our news page come back for great updates, case studies and more. If you’re looking for surveying services in the UK, then reach out to us and say hey! We’d love to chat about how we can help you.