Benefits of using Drones in construction and infrastructure.

1. Fast, reproducible, on-demand image acquisition

On a construction site, there is always a contractor, an engineering company, an earthmoving company and a number of subcontractors to execute specialized work. In addition to involving a lot of teams, deadlines are tight and require frequently-updated records to drive decisions and align multiple stakeholders.This is where a major advantage of drones lies for construction site managers. Drones provide a complete picture of the construction site on-demand and within a few hours.

The sharp, detailed images produced by drones enable site managers to track work progress and make accurate decisions based on up-to-date data and comprehensive reconstructed site maps instead of relying on plans or incomplete data that may not reflect reality.

The aerial images also act as a visual aid when communicating with all parties, so that everyone can see for themselves what has already been done and what remains to be done.

2. Accurate and comprehensive data

In addition to having detailed aerial photographs, the same data collected by a drone in a single flight provides a complete map of the site with GPS points, in 2D and 3D. These maps allow accurate measurements of distances, surfaces, elevations and volumes. From there, photogrammetry software also generates elevation models such as digital terrain models (DTMs) and digital surface models (DSMs).

Maps created from drone images contain millions of points. They allow extremely efficient measurement of asphalt edges, curbs, centerlines and all relevant road features

With drones, you no longer  need to go back to a job site if a data point has been missed. Bacon Farmer Workman (BFW) is an engineering and surveying company in the US Midwest delivering high-quality surveys for clients in construction: “It used to be the case that there would be a landmark, like a manhole, that was missed in a survey. And they’d need the location of it, so someone would have to drive out, set up equipment and get the coordinates of it.” explains Jacob Cash, Mobile Mapping and LiDAR Department Manager at BFW. 

3. Cost and time saving

Drones significantly reduce time-intensive data collection in the field and its associated labor costs. Hades Geodeesia, a 30-year-old surveying company is using drones to provide accurate survey data for the construction of a major highway in Estonia: “It doesn’t make sense to go outside and walk for three to four hours and get about 500 points and make calculations.” said Vaiko Veeleid, CEO of Hades Geodeesia. 

4. Better documentation and faster reconciliation with subcontractors

Easy and repeated surveying means that the site will have more complete documentation throughout its life cycle.

5. Remote access to current status of the site

BIM managers, surveyors and managers in head offices currently have to either travel physically or rely on workers on site to get information about construction progress. By having somebody on site flying the drone and capturing images, you will be able to see the progress of projects directly on your computer, to evaluate it and discuss it with site managers as if you were on site.

6. Increased safety

Being able to monitor and inspect hard-to-reach places or areas in the middle of machinery without entering them obviously reduces workers’ exposure to accidents.

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Images and quotes courtesy Wingtra

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