Drone Surveys and Mapping: The Pros & Cons

planetinhousewp Commercial Drone Industries

More and more companies are using unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones) for surveys and mapping. For instance, DroneDeploy users have mapped over 10 million acres, which generated an estimated $150 million for the commercial drone industry.

In order to determine if a UAS is right for you, it’s important to examine the benefits and limitations of using drones for surveying and mapping.

Benefits
Ease of Deployment
Drones are capable of completing survey jobs in less than half the time of a traditional survey methods. Surveys that once took weeks to complete, can now be done in less than a few days. This allows for surveyors to complete more projects in less time.

Reduced Risk
Using UAS for data collection reduces the need for workers to enter potentially hazardous areas. The small, portable size of drones make them ideal for collecting data in a variety of different environments like roadways and steep terrain.

Detailed Data
Drones equipped with imaging software makes it easy to turn images into a wide variety of georeferenced 2D maps and 3D models. For example, the Pix4DmapperPro software includes a thermography feature that creates radiometrically-accurate maps and gives temperature values of each pixel.

Todd A. Hillhouse, CEO and Chief UAS Pilot of Planet Inhouse, Inc. adds, “We are able to capture high-resolution, large-frame images from aerial systems and convert those images into georeferenced orthomosaics and 3D models for surveying, city modeling, large-scale mapping, urban planning, cadaster and more.” Furthermore, many drones are capable of producing centimeter level resolution and accuracy.

Limitations
FAA Requirements
Some may feel hesitant about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations for flying drones. The FAA requires that all UAS operators obtain a remote pilot certificate to legally fly for work/business. To receive a remote pilot certificate, you must first pass the initial aeronautical knowledge test.

However, our training programs can help you learn everything you need to know to earn your remote pilot certificate. In addition, you can download the free FAA official guide to help you study.

Another option is to hire an already established aerial services company to complete the surveys for you. Planet Inhouse, Inc. has completed numerous surveys including the mapping of 196 acres at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne.

Whether you choose to implement a drone into your survey business or hire an outsourced service, it’s easy to see the benefits of using UAS technology. Planet Inhouse, Inc. is here to help you in the decision-making process and we’re ready to take your business to new heights.