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Revolutionizing Surveying: The Rise of Drones (May 2024)

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Drone surveying

Surveying, the critical task of mapping and measuring land, has been a cornerstone in fields like construction, environmental management, and urban planning. Traditionally, this task has relied on manual methods, but the advent of drone technology is revolutionizing surveying. The global drone surveying market size is projected to reach a valuation of $1.384 billion in 2023 and grow at a CAGR of 19.3% over the next ten years, indicating a significant industry shift.

The Transformation Brought by Drones

The integration of drones into surveying has been a game-changer, revolutionizing surveying. With improved battery life, better image quality, and increased speed, drones offer unparalleled efficiency and accuracy compared to traditional methods. This technological leap has been embraced across various industries, including energy, infrastructure development, agriculture, real estate, and transportation, driving rapid growth in the drone surveying industry.

drone surveying impact

Idaho Forest Group

The Idaho Forest Group, a major player in the lumber industry, processes a substantial volume of wood – 2.5 million cubic meters annually. To manage such a vast operation, efficient and accurate stockpile measurement is crucial. Historically, this was a time-consuming task, taking about 7 hours using traditional survey methods. However, the introduction of drone technology, specifically the WingtraOne drone, transformed their surveying process.

The WingtraOne drone, known for its high-quality imaging and efficient flight capabilities, was able to complete the entire survey in just 35 minutes. This was not only significantly faster but also provided the company with highly accurate data. The drone's ability to capture centimeter-level details ensured that the volume measurements of the wood stockpiles were precise, which is critical in an industry where small miscalculations can lead to significant revenue loss or surplus.

This method, being 80% faster than the traditional approach, resulted in substantial time savings for the company. Moreover, the cost savings were also significant as the drone reduced the need for a large survey team and cut down the number of man-hours required for the task. Additionally, the accuracy of the drone's data likely helped the company in better inventory management, leading to more efficient operations and potentially reducing waste.

This case is a prime example of how drone technology is not just enhancing but revolutionizing surveying practices in various industries, leading to increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and accuracy.

Idaho Forest Group Lumberton Site - December 2020 - October 2021

IMPULS AG in Switzerland

IMPULS AG, a Swiss engineering firm, was tasked with a challenging project: monitoring erosion and rockfall risks in the Swiss Alps. The rugged and unpredictable terrain of the Alps makes traditional surveying methods both difficult and dangerous. To tackle this, IMPULS AG employed the WingtraOne drone, renowned for its advanced capabilities in aerial surveying.

In a single day, the WingtraOne covered 48 hectares of the alpine landscape. The drone's efficiency in covering vast and difficult terrains is a significant advantage over traditional, time-consuming on-foot methods. More importantly, the WingtraOne was able to create a highly detailed 3D model of the area with an impressive accuracy of 6cm. This level of detail is crucial for monitoring changes in the terrain that could indicate increased risk of erosion or rockfalls.

This approach not only provided safer means of surveying but also ensured the collection of high-quality data essential for environmental monitoring and planning. The data collected aids in assessing the stability of the terrain and in making informed decisions to mitigate potential natural disasters. This case exemplifies the transformative impact of drone technology in environmental monitoring and risk assessment, particularly in challenging and hazardous terrains.

WingtraOne PPK surveying drone for high accuracy surveys

RTB Mining Company in Serbia

RTB, operating one of Europe's largest copper mining complexes, faced significant challenges in surveying its vast mine pits. The steep, hazardous terrain and frequent high winds posed a risk to traditional survey methods. The company turned to the VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) WingtraOne drone, a choice driven by the need for safety and efficiency in such a challenging environment.

The WingtraOne's ability to cover large areas quickly and withstand difficult weather conditions allowed RTB to gather essential data about the mines at an unprecedented pace, being 30 times faster than traditional survey methods. This efficiency translated into more frequent and detailed data collection, crucial for maintaining up-to-date digital terrain models of the mining sites. These models are vital for tracking site progress, planning future operations, and ensuring the safety of mining activities.

By adopting drone technology, RTB significantly enhanced its survey capabilities, allowing for more effective management and monitoring of its extensive mining operations. This case underscores the transformative impact of drones in industries where traditional survey methods are limited by environmental challenges.

4K - Bor town & Copper Mine

Advantages of Drone Surveying Time and Cost Efficiency

Drone surveys can be up to five times faster than land-based methods, substantially reducing field time and survey costs. This efficiency is further enhanced by technologies like PPK geo-tagging, which reduces the need for numerous ground control points. Accuracy and Comprehensive Data: With the ability to capture thousands of measurements in a single flight, drones provide detailed 2D and 3D data for accurate distance, area, and volume measurements. Terrain Accessibility: Drones can access challenging or hazardous areas, ideal for topographic surveys in rugged or hard-to-reach locations. High Accuracy: In optimal conditions, high-end surveying drones can achieve absolute accuracies as low as 1 cm with the use of ground control points and precise geotagging.

  • Time and Cost Efficiency: Drone surveys can be up to five times faster than land-based methods, substantially reducing field time and survey costs. This efficiency is further enhanced by technologies like PPK geo-tagging, which reduces the need for numerous ground control points​​.
  • Accuracy and Comprehensive Data: With the ability to capture thousands of measurements in a single flight, drones provide detailed 2D and 3D data for accurate distance, area, and volume measurements​​.
  • Terrain Accessibility: Drones can access challenging or hazardous areas, ideal for topographic surveys in rugged or hard-to-reach locations​​.
  • High Accuracy: In optimal conditions, high-end surveying drones can achieve absolute accuracies as low as 1 cm with the use of ground control points and precise geotagging​​.

Conclusion

The integration of drones in surveying is not just an enhancement of existing methods; it's a complete overhaul of the traditional surveying paradigm, revolutionizing surveying. With substantial benefits in efficiency, accuracy, and safety, drones are setting new standards in the surveying industry. This technological revolution opens a new chapter in surveying, promising continued growth and innovation in the years to come.

As the CEO of Flyeye.io, Jacob Stoner spearheads the company's operations with his extensive expertise in the drone industry. He is a licensed commercial drone operator in Canada, where he frequently conducts drone inspections. Jacob is a highly respected figure within his local drone community, where he indulges his passion for videography during his leisure time. Above all, Jacob's keen interest lies in the potential societal impact of drone technology advancements.