Traditional Land Surveying Vs Drone Surveying: Which Method Is Best for Your Project?

From planning infrastructure to building solar farms, land surveying is essential to knowing the features, boundaries, encroachments, and topography of the land; so you can properly plan and map out your project. With drones bringing so many benefits to surveying, it’s no wonder many businesses are considering shifting from more traditional methods. To help you determine which method is right for you, we’re weighing the pros and cons of both traditional and drone surveying.

How Is Traditional Land Surveying Completed?

Usually survey field crews will go out to the project and measure the horizontal and vertical angles between points, as well as measuring distance, using a total station or a similar instrument. The survey crew will take note of any subdivision monuments, which helps validate property corners and any infrastructure on the piece of land. A drawing is then created using the data from the survey crew, as well as information from the subdivision plan and title work. From this point, a licensed surveyor will review the product, approve it, then sign and seal it.

For higher altitudes or to get a “birds eye view” of the land needing to be surveyed, traditional methods include rope surveying and scaffolding surveying. Both methods require a team of people to man equipment and access high altitudes.

The Benefits of Traditional Land Surveying

For companies that already own total stations and have a trained team of traditional surveyors, they may be hesitant to make the shift to drone surveying because of concerns of purchasing more expensive equipment and having to train additional skills.

The Drawbacks of Traditional Land Surveying

The main disadvantages of traditional land surveying are time, cost, and safety. More often than not, survey crews are working on undeveloped or highly vegetated land, and have a greater chance of falling or being exposed to harsh elements. Moreover, if a crew is working near an interstate, more safety precautions must come into play in order to minimize risk.

In addition to potential safety hazards, this is an incredibly time-consuming, expensive task. Measuring large areas requires a team of people, which increases labor costs, and often weeks or months to complete before the data is ready for analysis and compilation. It’s easy for a project to quickly get behind schedule, which can add on to the cost of the project as a whole.

How are Drones used in Surveying?

Drone surveying involves using a drone to capture images of the terrain below either by taking images at a rapid pace (such as photogrammetry) or by scanning the terrain with a LiDAR sensor. An FAA Certified Professional drone pilot sends the drone into the air and along a pre-planned flight path to ensure comprehensive data collection, and once it’s complete, a licensed surveyor can convert the data into a 3D rendering or topographical map.

The Benefits of Drone Surveying

Drone surveying offers several advantages that traditional methods simply can’t offer, including:

  • Speed – A huge selling point of drone surveying is that accurate and actionable data can be collected much faster than traditional methods. Drones can scan up to 700 acres a day (per team) and data can be ready for final delivery within two weeks.
  • Safety – There’s absolutely no need to put people on your team in harm’s way. The drone can be piloted from a safe location while the drone itself is high above the ground, which significantly reduces the potential risks for on-site teams.
  • Access to remote locations – Whether you need to scan rocky terrain, overgrown swamp and marsh, or access high altitudes, a drone can reach areas with ease.
    Cost effective – Drones can collect the data much quicker and with significantly fewer man hours, reducing the overall cost.
  • Accuracy – High quality sensors offer specifications with incredibly high accuracy, often as close as two millimeters.

Get a Free Quote for Drone Data Collection, Consulting, or Rental Services Today

We can collect data using a variety of methods that a licensed professional or surveyor can use to create contour maps, topographical maps, 3D models, and more. Reach out to FlyGuys today for a free quote on services at 1 (888) 837-0940 or fill out the form below to learn more.

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Please note that we are currently unable to assist in the search for missing pets. This limitation is due to the specific challenges and regulations associated with using drones for such purposes.