Drones are used for everything from warfare to delivery of goods from warehouse to home. They’re also wildly popular with kids and grownups alike who enjoy playing with flashy new digital toys, it seems that drones are nearly everywhere.
Engineers have discovered that drones – known technically as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) – can make the painstaking task of performing survey work faster and easier. While drone aerial photography has been around for a while, topographic surveys using drones is an emerging and fast-growing technology. The prospect of surveying large areas, with great precision and at high speed, is truly a breakthrough when compared to land-based survey methodologies.
Although drones promise great efficiency and accuracy as a geotechnical tool, engineers must be aware of the challenges that come with this robotic technology. Drone expert Jeremiah Karpowicz, Executive Director of the UAV Expo warns, “Problems can arise if data are collected without the full consideration of the products to be created from the collection. Data collected without proper control will not meet survey accuracy requirements.”[i]
Regardless of the challenges, we’re likely to see a substantial increase in the number of engineering firms using drone technology to perform more accurate, cost-effective surveys.
Did You Know?
*Since late 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued over 3,300 permits to individuals and companies to use drones for commercial purposes.[ii]
*More than 300,000 hobbyist drones have been registered with the FAA since December of 2015.[iii]
*The cost of an off-the-shelf, ready-to-fly quadcopter equipped with all the accessories needed to conduct a UAS photogrammetric survey is less than $3,000 USD.[iv] However, software to process the photographs can be substantially more.
*Weight and power specifications, as well as the price for a multi-spectral imager, have been reduced dramatically.[v]
HSA Golden is a leader in UAS aerial photography and topographic surveys. For more information, contact us at 1.407.649.5475, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our professionals will be pleased to help you determine if a UAS survey is the
[i] Defining the Accuracy, You Need from a Drone on a Surveying & Mapping Project” by Jeremiah Karpowicz, December 5, 2016 Commercial UAV News
[ii] “Fast Times: Special Edition on the Application of Drone Technology for Geophysics,” March 2016, Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society (EEGS)[ii] http://www.eegs.org/assets/docs/Past-Issues/march%202016%20fasttimes%20-%20lowres%20-%2002%2026%202016.pdf
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