May 2018

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveying purposes is becoming increasingly popular within the measurement industry.

With a range of benefits, thanks to relatively recent advances in technology, surveying professionals are relying on drones to carry out a variety of different surveying tasks, from ultra-high definition imagery to line-of-sight and condition surveys. Here are five of the primary benefits of using UAVs for aerial surveys.

Five benefits of aerial surveys

1. Accuracy

Rapid improvements in UAV and camera technology over the past decade, has enabled drones to utilise cameras that can shoot up to 5.2k resolution images and video. The greater pixel density ensures that the overall accuracy of aerial surveys is maximised. As well as this, sophisticated new stabilisation techniques allow drones to capture ultra-high definition images in challenging weather conditions. With the reliability and ever-increasing prevalence of GPS, especially real-time kinematic or RTK, incorporated into some drones’ software, overall accuracy is one of the drone’s strongest benefits. When accuracy is married together with other innate advantages, drones become a very attractive proposition for any aerial survey.

2. Health & Safety

Drones are ideal tools to capture data in compromised, dangerous or sensitive environments, with minimal risk to the surveying professional piloting the drone and indeed the public. All data is captured easily from the air, with limited health and safety concerns. This in turn reduces planning time and negates the need for extensive health and safety considerations, providing a quicker turnaround for the project as a whole.

Five benefits of aerial surveys

3. Access any subject

Simply by their nature, UAVs make it easier than ever before to access hard to reach locations. With a pre-planned flightpath, or the skills of an experienced pilot, drones can access towers, masts, roofs, tall buildings and wind turbines with ease and with excellent results. Remote access and up to 30x zoom from the drone’s optics enables the thorough inspection of any subject.

Five benefits of aerial surveys

4. Speed

Thanks to the flexibility of drones, very large areas of land can be covered in a short amount of time. Pre-planned flightpaths also contribute to the sheer speed a drone survey can be completed in. This reduces time taken from initial planning, through to the final data processing and end product delivery, thus ensuring customer satisfaction in time sensitive projects.

Five benefits of aerial surveys

5. Cost savings

With relatively low overheads and significantly reduced costs when compared to terrestrial, light aircraft and helicopter surveys, drones open new horizons and new perspectives with regards to what is possible and affordable in the aerial survey discipline. Perspectives that were never achievable without huge costs and operational considerations are now well within the reach of today’s surveying professionals. This is thanks to the relatively affordable and increasingly accurate output of aerial survey drones.

1ST HORIZON’s Aerial Survey Division delivers a range of aerial survey outputs, including high definition video and imagery, orthomosaics, detailed terrain models, pointcloud data and inspection reports. Find out more about a 1ST HORIZON Aerial Survey here.

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