What Are Drone Surveys?
The term ‘drone survey’, or ‘unmanned aerial survey’, refers to the use of surveying drones (UAVs) to take aerial photographs for use in photogrammetry to survey a site.
The main way drone surveyors analyse a site is using photogrammetry, the science of making measurements from photographs. Surveying drones can also capture aerial footage and thermal data of a site for analysis. Drone surveys collect data to create a point cloud of measurements. A point cloud is able to construct a three-dimensional model of the building or land.
Three-dimensional site models are useful when using drones in construction, conveyancing, and architecture processes.
Surveying drones vs. Traditional Methods
Drones are a much safer alternative to traditional methods of surveying, especially drones in construction, as they eliminate the needs for ladders, cranes and other heavy equipment. For example, a large majority of workplace accidents arise as a result of falls, and surveying drones reduce this risk.
Drone surveys generally only require one operator and the flight is pre-planned in advance. This saves time when conducting the survey, therefore the process is more efficient than traditional methods of surveying.
Drone surveys are cost-effective to carry out because of the reduced manpower needed on site. A standard roof inspection or site survey starts at about £200.
Although surveying drones don’t eliminate human error altogether, they can reduce it greatly. A machine captures and analyses the data. This means that the model produced is likely to be significantly more accurate that one made using traditional methods.
Surveying Drones in construction: Land Surveys
Land surveys carried out by drones in construction processes, architects and legal professionals give detail about a site. Information they collect, such as property boundaries and topographic data, is crucial in making informed decisions about the development of land.
One of the key roles of surveying drones is to conduct an accurate survey of a piece of land. They use photographic and videographic evidence to produce a detailed model.
Meticulous measurements are cross-referenced with ground control points, resulting in a model which often has a high local and global accuracy. Read more about the accuracy of surveying drones here.
Surveying Drones in Construction: Building Surveys
Conducting building surveys are another important role of drone surveyors. Buildings that may be fragile, of historical significance or on inaccessible land can be easily surveyed by drones. Surveying drones will be able to collect crucial information about the condition of the roof and chimney of the structure.
Drones in construction provide information to use by those in the process of project management, conveyancing to negotiate on price, or by property owners investigating damage to their property.
Models and Maps
In addition to this, there are many different types of models and maps that data collected by surveying drones can produce.
Orthomosaic maps are maps constructed of an area from a series of different aerial images that have been adjusted and colour-corrected. This type of map is of particular importance to town planning and council organisations that are planning developments on a large scale.
Thermal maps are maps that accurately show the infrared radiation that is radiated by buildings and land. They are useful for identifying areas with abnormal heat loss, which can be a great tool for energy usage monitoring and environmental decision-making.
Three-Dimensional Maps and Models
Orthomosaic maps in 3D provide valuable information about the topography and condition of larger sites.
The use of drones in construction and architecture to make three-dimensional site models are excellent for making important decisions, and can allow surveyors to get a better idea of the way a new development could impact an area.
LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) point clouds use a sensing technology whereby they emit rapid laser pulses to map out the surface of the earth. High resolution models of terrain and elevation use LiDAR technology.
Surveying Drones: Licensing and Regulation
Drone surveyors, and indeed drone operators in general, must register with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s independent specialist aviation regulator. Operators must acquire an ‘operator ID’ and ‘flyer ID’ if they intend to pilot the drone themselves.
This process requires the operator to pass a theory test to prove their competence with flying and knowledge of the rules and regulations surrounding drone operation.
To operate drones commercially, including conducting drone surveys, the CAA may require drone surveyors to take extra training courses, especially if they intend to fly them over buildings and people, as most drone surveyors need to do.
Are you looking for a UK drone survey company? Here at HeliDrone Surveys we provide quality drone surveys at a great price. Read more.