The use of drones in construction surveying provides many solutions to problems that have persisted due to the use of traditional and outdated equipment. Drones are able to be used for photogrammetry, which is the science of obtaining reliable information about the physical environment and surrounding objects through the process of capturing, measuring, and analyzing photographic images. This technology is a huge improvement over conventional topographic mapping, which requires teams to be on-site to walk and shoot the grids to get an accurate measurement. Companies like Ames Construction, which focuses on heavy civil construction, have switched to using drones for surveying, and are reaping the benefits. Using commercial drones for photogrammetric surveying is not only more cost-effective and safer than the more traditional method, but it allows for projects to be completed faster and without interruption.
The return on investment for commercial drones has been proven to be much higher than that of the traditional methods, due to the cutting edge technology they provide. Companies are able to save money by creating more accurate models with drones, avoiding costly mistakes due to inaccurate surveying. Drones are able to offer a more complete picture of the site, reducing the amount of rework required and allowing companies to do it right the first time. Costs can be further reduced as smaller teams can cover the same amount of ground by surveying with drones.
For the case of Ames Construction, safety for their surveying crews is especially important as one of their recent projects required them to take measurements of pit benches in an open mine, which can be prone to slope failure or slippage. They were able to use a drone to survey the area, which allowed for crew members to be a safe distance away from these inherently dangerous areas. Not only are companies able to keep their surveying crews safe, but drones can be used to monitor safety conditions and look out for potential hazards for workers below. The drone can be used to plan emergency routes in case of an accident, as well as create up-to-date maps of the ever-changing mine to be posted onsite.
With the use of drones for surveying, companies are able to complete construction projects faster by avoiding interruptions in work. Traditional methods of surveying sometimes require work to be stopped in order to ensure the safety of surveying crews, as vibrations from machinery could cause wall collapses that could injure workers. Now drones are able to safely survey the site simultaneously, thus avoiding long pauses in work and allowing the project to be completed quicker than before. This helps construction companies save precious time, giving them more leeway in the timelines for their projects if anything else is delayed. Time is also saved as regular drone flights to monitor progress can catch any mistakes or hazards early, preventing them from derailing the progress of the project.
The use of drones for surveying, particularly in heavy civil construction, has been proven to be a beneficial tool in reducing costs and total project time, while also increasing safety and accuracy in measurements. More and more companies are realizing how this technology can greatly improve the work they do for their clients, while also helping them expand on their surveying capabilities. Drones play an ever-increasing role in the construction surveying industry and are becoming an essential part of this competitive environment.