How drone survey results are improving roads and infrastructure

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How drone survey results are improving roads and infrastructure

Roads, bridges and tunnels— these are vital infrastructure components that carry the lifeblood of a city; its people. However, surveying these massive structures that stretch on for long kilometres is challenging. Whether it be to expand an existing network, to create new lanes, create entirely new roads or just for maintenance of old ones the traditional ground-based surveying methods are painstaking, slow and inefficient.
Drones Survey on the other hand are surveying powerhouses. They are quick to deploy, can cover massive parcels of land and offer incredibly detailed images and accurate survey results. Let's take a look at why surveyors are turning to drones for their Road and Infrastructure surveying needs.

Tackling the Challenges of Road Surveying

Ground-based or terrestrial surveying is a demanding job. Surveyors have to move painstakingly from point to point, taking readings while braving hazards and dangers. It also tends to be a disruptive form of surveying, often causing a delay to nearby activity.

Time-consuming and labour intensive

Traditional surveying methods result in a lot of time being used. Surveyors need to shift positions often and take readings of considerably smaller patches of land, traverse most of the distance by foot, and of course, do the tedious setting up and taking down of equipment.

Lack of resolution from satellite

Satellites may seem like the ideal contender when it comes to surveying large areas. However, they lack the necessary level of resolution to make the data useful. For example, if you were to zoom in from satellite surveys, you'd be hard-pressed to find intricate details like cracks or erosions or slight deviances in height.

Human error and limitations

It is an unavoidable fact that errors happen when are humans involved. Apart from this, humans are limited by their environmental factors and abilities. In the case of high-winds it's almost impossible to hold the prism plumb poles steady.

Inaccessibility & terrain

One of the largest sources of delays and even hazards stems from the fact that surveyors need to traverse by foot. This also puts them at the mercy of the land. They can only go as far as they can. If the accessibility is challenging beyond that, they either need to brave that danger or stop.

Disruption to local activities

When you do have humans walking about the surrounding activities need to be mindful of them. In the case of surveying an existing road for maintenance, either the road needs to be closed off for the duration, or surveyors need to work through the night when visibility is limited.

Drones Are the Answer


On average, a surveyor could cover 0.20 sq km in 90 minutes. To improve turnaround time, you'd have to increase the number of surveyors. With just one of the senseFly's eBee X, drone survey could cover about 5 sq km in 90 minutes. The boost to speed and productivity is tremendous. Additionally, ground-based surveys force surveyors to move and cover land in smaller intervals. With drones, the eye is essentially the limit, from one central control point the drone can fly out as long as it remains within line of sight and collect data.


Going by the hierarchy of controls, the safest way to make operations safer is to completely eliminate any and all danger. Yes, that is quite obvious, as it is extremely difficult to achieve. With the next best option being to isolate the hazards and dangers from humans. That is exactly what drones do. Using mapping drones, the surveyors can remain at the safety of a control station while the drone braves the weather and hazards to collect data. Additionally, when you reduce the amount of time a certain task takes, you are also cutting down on exposure hours.

More Accurate

Professional Mapping Drones can be fitted with some of the most powerful sensors available. Using these sensors, drones can capture incredibly accurate or high-resolution data. The improved resolution allows surveyors to generate models that are extremely accurate and that can detail and analyse intricate features. Along with accurate data, drones also give you consistent data which enables the surveyor with a robust and dependable solution.

Better Data

When you have more accurate sensors you also get improved data. This also makes data processing and reviewing easier and opens the door to AI-powered analysis. Using the higher resolution data, surveyors can generate accurate deliverables and spot even the smallest of cracks, faults or other signs of degradation on the roads.

Making Road Surveying Easier & More Effective

Drones Survey directly address the traditional pitfalls of road and infrastructure surveys. Using drones you can survey large expanses in less time; all while yielding better data. If you're interested in finding out how you can benefit from drone-powered surveying, get in touch with us to find out more!

About the author

Niiveth Mani


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