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How Do Drones Contribute to Surveying?

Updated: Jun 3, 2022

How Do Drones Contribute to Surveying?

Various industries are integrating drones into their workflows as drone technology becomes increasingly streamlined and accessible. Drones can dramatically increase productivity and efficiency. As a result, drones are changing the way businesses operate by reducing costs, saving time, improving safety, and ensuring a direct return on investment.

The use of drones has revolutionized surveying and mapping in particular. Unlike traditional surveying methods, which can take days or weeks to produce results, drones can achieve the same results in hours.

Assessing land presents a variety of challenges for surveyors. Surveying can be difficult and time-consuming due to restricted accessibility, topography changes, and poor visibility.

GIS professionals have enormous potential when it comes to using drones for surveying. Drones are capable of carrying out topographic surveys of the same accuracy as traditional methods but in a fraction of the time.

Drone surveying: What Is It?

The term drone survey refers to the use of a drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), to gather aerial data with sensors that face downwards, such as RGB cameras, multispectral cameras, and LIDAR payloads.

During drone surveys near survey sites, pilots deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). A drone pilot flies it over the plot of land and uses sensors such as multispectral and RGB cameras to capture data.

What are the advantages of using drones in surveying?

Drones can create various assets, including elevation models, 3D land models, and orthomosaics. Operators can use this data to gain highly accurate and informative land assessments, which will lead to better reporting and better decision-making for private and public land development and conservation projects.

Collecting data in a safer way

If you are tasked with surveying undeveloped land or land that has been used for industrial purposes, you may encounter adverse conditions. A drone can provide the data you need without putting yourself or your team at risk due to overgrowth, challenging terrain, and bodies of water.

Ongoing Analysis

Changing topography can make it difficult to track land borders, as topography can change significantly over time. The changes can sometimes occur gradually. The course of rivers or streams sometimes changes, trees disappear, and property lines change. Construction and weather can also alter terrain overnight.

Drones can be used to conduct land surveys regularly. Using drones, historic reports can be improved as well as rapid response surveys.

Exhaustive & Accurate data

Typically, a survey measures specific points from different stations. You can only compile a limited amount of data at one time and may even limit the scope of the data as a whole. Drone surveys can deliver thousands of accurate measurements and detailed results. Furthermore, the information can be presented in various formats. A surveyor can use the data in a format that suits their needs, ensuring a thorough audit and comparison.

It is also possible to include minute details that would otherwise be overlooked when using aerial methods. It could be vital to have some of this data during the development process, and anything missed could have an impact on the elevation of the land or the construction process.

Save Time on Data Collection

If you want to better serve your clients and take on more projects, you know time is of the essence. The traditional method of surveying can take a lot more time, especially if you have a large plot of land to cover, but the use of drones can save you time without sacrificing the accuracy you need. Drones are already being used by surveyors to complement traditional survey methods and take advantage of their benefits.

The types of surveys drones can perform?

The versatility of drones enables them to reach areas and perform tasks that are otherwise impossible to accomplish by humans, so they are used in several different industries for surveying. In the following section, we will look at some industries that find drone surveys to be a valuable alternative to traditional survey methods.


Mining and quarrying worksites can be hazardous for traditional surveyors to work in, but they are frequently surveyed. Drones are the most popular modern method of surveying due to the combination of aerial photography and the ability to turn this into 3D models in a fraction of the time.

The use of drones can accelerate mine surveys by 20x compared to traditional methods done on the ground. Drones can increase mining site productivity. Mine operations are more productive and efficient with drone data. The information provided by drones helps workers make well-informed decisions more quickly.

Drones in mining

Energy Industry

Thanks to drone technology, the energy industry is undergoing major changes. Energy sectors like solar, wind, oil, and gas require inspections, but these inspections can be time-consuming and expensive. UAVs are used to inspect utility sites, so damage can be identified faster and problems can be addressed before they become more serious.

Businesses can make better decisions using drone programs. Using drones in the energy industry is a practical way to solve everyday problems and supports efforts to reduce maintenance, inspections, and repair costs, as well as increase efficiency.

Traditionally, gas facilities, solar farms, and offshore oil fields have been inspected by planes, helicopters, and professional climbers. Prior to sending specialized personnel to examine windmills and turbines, consultants would spend much time creating safety documents. Today, drones make this process much simpler.

Using drones in the energy industry


Drones are taking off in the construction industry. Using drones, many site tasks can be completed faster, more accurately, and with lower costs than traditional methods.

From project inception to project close, drone technology has revolutionized everything. Images and videos taken by drones can be used to scope jobs, check the condition of buildings, and receive real-time updates.

Drones will continue to be used in construction with the increasing complexity of construction projects and the growth of the industry.


We hope this article give you more insight into how drone contribute to your surveying business.

If you'd like to learn more about how to high-quality data and get the most out of your drone missions, please feel free to visit our learning resources.

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