What You Need To Know About Drone Surveying
Using a drone for surveying can provide you with detailed, accurate data, quickly and safely.
What is drone surveying and how can it be of benefit?
Drones are sometimes seen as toys, only useful for pretty pictures.
In the right hands, drone surveys provide a large number of possibilities and uses, particularly in the construction and property industry,where they are used to solve a number of problems, including aerial surveying and site monitoring.
What Do Drone Surveyors Do?
Drones are a tool to collect accurate and detailed data.
Depending on who you are talking to, a ‘drone survey’ can mean different things.
To a building surveyor, a drone survey can be the inspection of a building, block or structure in order to determine its condition.
To a land surveyor or site engineer, a drone survey can be the topographic survey of a site or parcel of land, commonly known as‘mapping’.
Either way a drone survey involves collecting a series of highly detailed images by drone
A drone surveyor will usually map out the flight plan which the drone needs in order to gather the required data.
Once the drone has completed the flight plan, they will land,and the surveyor can begin processing the data collected and providing the client with the results.
Is A Drone Survey Accurate?
How accurate is a drone survey in comparison to a traditional survey.
When executed in the right way, with the right equipment and workflow, drone surveys can be accurate to RICS survey standards.
Accuracies of less than 50mm are regularly achieved, however this does depend on the terrain, the equipment used and the capability of the drone surveyor.
Sites can be surveyed from 200ft – 300ft whilst still collecting detailed, high resolution and accurate data.
Some drone operators make claims of 20mm which not realistic, but any good drone operator will be happy to discuss their workflow and show you how they achieved the stated accuracies.
What Is Drone Surveying Used For?
Whether the surveying is for a building, structure, land or traffic, using a drone to complete this will be safer, quicker and most of the time cheaper, than traditional methods.
Traffic surveys are typically performed at peak times in order to collect data to support a planning application or to analyse traffic behaviour to support a traffic management plan or transportation planning.
Typical metrics required are traffic counts, traffic type breakdown, origin / destination matrix and queue waiting times amongst other.
For a typical traffic island, before drones were introduced,a team of would be required, to man each approach / exit.
It should be no surprise that this method was prone to human error and costly. It would also be exhausting and sometimes dangerous for the team in question.
Each person would generate a dataset that needs to be processed and analysed which will take days, sometimes weeks.
Humans are sometimes replaced by static cameras and need to be setup and monitored. They sometimes get damaged, obstructed or stolen.
A single drone can cover the same traffic island, providing a single dataset. Only a single drone operator may be required and 100%coverage can be achieved.
Results are much more accurate and more detailed metrics are available. This data can be processed by software with results available within hours.
A drone traffic survey is more accurate and efficient than traditional methods.
Drone surveys can be used to large areas quickly and accurately. The whole site is covered providing a snapshot, even collecting data you may not need now, but could be useful in the future.
For example, 40ha can be collected within a couple of hours by drone, including ground control, all to RICS survey standards.
This could take several days using traditional survey methods, depending on the site.
One site visit provides several outputs both in 2D and 3D which can be used in CAD as if it were a traditional survey.
That’s not to say drones are replacing ground surveyors, the two can complement each other and data combined to get the best of both worlds.
Due to the quick, safe and cost effective nature of a drone survey, it can be repeated weekly or monthly as required ensuring you always have up to date data to keep the project on track.
What Do You Need For Drone Surveying?
Firstly, you need to use the right tool for the job.Depending on the weight of the drone being used and where it is being flown will determine which rules and legislation you need to abide by.
Because the drone will most likely be carrying some form of camera, all drones used for surveying will need to be registered. This means you may need to register with CAA.
If you are just flying a drone but neither own nor are responsible for it, you will be required to complete a theory test which will supply you with a FlyerID.
If you hold responsibility over a drone, you are required to be registered for an Operator ID.
If using the drone for paid work you will also need public liability insurance.
Next, you will need a drone which can complete a survey and provide high-quality data. As well as requiring a suitable drone, suitable software is required and knowledge of how to use it to obtain accurate data.
How Much Does A Drone Survey Cost?
The cost of a survey does depend on several factors:
The size and location of the site, the accuracy / detail required and the outputs or deliverables you want to achieved from the drone survey.
A residential property survey may start at £200 whereas a large commercial building will cost more.
A land survey or drone site survey will depend on the sizeof site and the deliverables required.
A traffic survey usually depends on the location and duration of the drone traffic survey.
If you have a project in mind, please get in touch and we will help determine your requirements to provide an accurate quotation.
Do Businesses Use Drone Surveying?
The construction industry is the largest adopter of drones and that is set to grow.
Some companies have adopted their own drone programme to establish an in-house drone team. However, due to the complex nature of drone surveying, training, equipment, software and insurance, most business prefer to outsource to a specialist like DroneWorks.
Drones are being recognised across the industry for their effectiveness and allowing a job to run efficiently. If you have a project which needs surveying, we can help you cut the costs and the time so get in touch today!
When thinking about using drones, make sure that you are using a registered,qualified and insured drone operator.
Whether you’re a building surveyor, land surveyor, site engineer or quantity surveyor, there is a use case where drone surveys can provide a considerable benefit.
If you are a surveying business and you are interested in starting your own drone program, please reach out, we’re happy to talk through the process and requirements. Its not as simple as ‘chucking the drone up.There is a considerable investment in training, equipment and software.
DroneWorks are excited to be offering these innovative drone survey services to our clients and proving the benefits that they can bring to projects taking advantage of them!