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For too many project development managers, the land surveying portion of the construction process is just a necessary evil—something that they must take care of before the real work can begin. However, if you use the right technology, the land surveying process can be a source of real business value for the project as a whole. By getting the project off on the right foot with high-quality land surveying services, you can set the foundation for a project that gets completed on time and within budget.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are one example of a technology that can help project leaders rethink land surveying. Read on to learn how UAV land surveying can be much more than just a time-consuming necessity.

Save time

One of the biggest problems that project managers have when it comes to traditional land surveying methods is that they can be so incredibly time-consuming. This, in turn, pushes back the date at which construction can begin, meaning that investors have more time to wait before the project starts providing a return.

UAVs help address this issue by significantly speeding up the land surveying process. The fact is that traditional land surveyors aren't able to move particularly fast, which means it will take a lot of time for them to complete their work. For projects that cover vast areas, such as an oil and gas pipeline, the issue is compounded even further. In addition, the data these surveyors collect must be processed before it can be made available for use, leading to even longer delays.

UAVs can move much quicker than traditional surveyors. They travel as the crow flies, completely unimpeded by obstacles on the ground that might take hours to cross otherwise. This allows UAVs to survey up to six square miles per day. The results of these surveys can also be turned around and ready to use in as little as 24 hours.

Slash costs

Another important area of concern for project managers planning land surveys is that the high costs could put the entire project in the red before the construction work even begins. While it is true that traditional surveying methods can be a significant source of expenses early on in the project, land surveys that apply UAV technology can be completed at a small fraction of the cost.

UAVs have grown increasingly affordable as the underlying technology continues to develop. While UAVs were initially used primarily for military applications, the new lower price points have made them increasingly feasible in a variety of new industry settings—land surveying is just one prominent example.

In addition to being relatively inexpensive to acquire, UAV technology also provides lower operating costs than traditional land surveying technology. Of course, the fact that UAV surveying can be completed quickly by a single drone operator means that it requires fewer man hours than traditional surveying. As a result, you can use UAV technology to gather all the data you might need to support a quality project while also paying significantly less than you might have in the past.

Increase accuracy

Ensuring a high level of precision and detail for your land surveying results can be a critical factor in getting your project off to the right start. If you base your project on suboptimal data, it could lead you to make incorrect assumptions when creating your project plan. In turn, this could result in expensive and time-consuming rework later on.

Getting the right data before the project begins can significantly decrease the likelihood that you’ll experience one of those unpleasant surprises later on in the process. This is where UAVs can help. By pairing UAVs with the latest in data capture technology, such as high-definition cameras and 3D laser scanners, a land surveying team can provide the accuracy and detail that today’s large construction projects demand.

In addition, UAVs can fly over difficult terrain and place themselves in tight spots, meaning that they can capture accurate data even in areas that traditional land surveying teams might not be able to reach.

Finding the right UAV land surveying partner

While the potential benefits of UAV land surveying are clear, you need to make sure you work with the right service provider to fully take advantage of those benefits. For one, you want to find a partner that has the latest UAV surveying technology, and also has experienced and certified operators to get the best results out of that technology.

Another important consideration is whether or not the service provider in question offers end-to-end land surveying services. Ideally, you would want to work with a single partner that could provide you with everything you need from a land surveying perspective: from collecting the initial data to processing it to storing it and then making it available for users across the organization. Getting all of these services from the same partner can streamline the land surveying process and provide you with a single, simple payment structure.

Final thoughts

It wasn't that long ago that most people considered drones the stuff of science fiction. The future is here, and the early adopters that take advantage of UAVs for their land surveying needs will ensure the best possible project results.

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