Surveying Outside the Box with Drones

Moving beyond military and recreational use, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, are quickly becoming a popular tool seen on job sites. In surveying, the combination of UAVs and terrestrial mounted LiDAR have many advantages over conventional methods. The high flying technology allows engineering and survey crews to quickly, efficiently and safely collect data.


Quickly – With the introduction of 3-D scanning almost a decade ago, the definition of and approach to surveying has changed. Using LiDAR technology, a scanner collects millions of data points in a matter of seconds and gathers a snapshot conveying full locational information. At the same time, a high resolution camera collects images to give the 3-D point cloud true color information, which can then be viewed in a host of software packages including MicroStation and AutoCAD. From these programs all data can be extracted and conventional drawings can be easily created.

Efficiently – The high speed scan collection helps minimize field time and the number of crews needed to gather information. Additionally, the scans produce an ample amount of data that helps reduce the need to remobilize crews and spend extra days in the field.

Safely – In some instances, project sites have complex restrictions that make it difficult to gather important data. By combining this LiDAR technology with the mobility of UAVs, crews can gain a bird’s eye view into hard to reach areas. With the high speed collection of the scanner, our team is able to increase efficiency while spending less time in dangerous or difficult to reach locations.