Drones for Surveying

How to Use Point Clouds for Land Development Projects




Down to Earth, a surveying reality series shows how real surveyors collect data and turn it into real deliverables, despite challenging conditions, rugged terrain and lurking dangers.

These next episodes of the drone reality series Down to Earth feature a project from a customer of Microdrones sister company GeoCue, using TrueView 3D Imaging Sensors in conjunction with LP360 software for surveying and land development.  

Caulfield & Wheeler, Inc., a professional civil engineering, surveying, and landscape architecture firm in Southeastern Florida was selected as the surveyor of record to provide all surveying services for one of the most innovative development projects to happen to Palm Beach County in a generation: Avenir.  See how they’re using TrueView LiDAR sensors and LP360 software in this all-new drone reality surveying series!

Watch Episode 1 Below:

The Avenir development project consists of 4,752 acres with 3,900 new homes, a resort-style clubhouse, a working farm, dedicated golf cart paths, spacious dog parks, and over 300 acres of lakes and waterways — and this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

This 5-year project will keep Caulfield and Wheeler busy surveying the site, providing topos, contours, and layout planning as construction continues to progress. And to deliver their surveys in the most efficient, high-quality manner, they’re deploying the TrueView 635 3D Imaging Sensor and processing, analyzing, and visualizing point cloud data in LP360 Drone.

However, a busy construction site and low-flying planes from a nearby airport will keep the Caulfield and Wheeler team on their guard. These episodes are the first to feature the TrueView 3D Imaging Sensor from GeoCue. These integrated payloads include sensors, dual cameras, and IMUs that are compatible with all drone platforms that can support the weight. 

In this 1st episode, Andrew L. Beckwith Director of Special Projects & UAS Operations at Caulfield and Wheeler, reviews the scope of the project and acts as a visual observer for the aerial surveys. Jason Cloninger is the UAS Pilot & Lidar Technician who will pilot the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.  Cloninger needs to stay focused on the UAV. “A big issue we have at a site like this is there are multiple construction vehicles driving around,” he said. “We always need to be looking for traffic around us or our flight zones.”

A local airplane pilot school also presents additional challenges, which is why Beckwith must constantly monitor the air space.  “Here at the Avenir site, we expect to encounter low-flying planes from a nearby uncontrolled, towerless airport,” he explains. 

Watch Episode 2 Below:

In the second episode Andrew and Jason head to the back of the development project where more challenges await. To finalize the survey in this area, they’ll have to contend with railway transportation, a local highway, and more aerial traffic in the sky. The landscape has also shifted from an active construction site to a wetland with a taller tree line with dense vegetation, leading to a lower visual line of site. Beckwith notes, “We’ll need to pre-analyze our flight to make sure we do not fly over public roads, cover our limits fully, and maintain a safe mission.”

Watch Episode 3 Below:

The third and final episode of Point Clouds to Paradise, the team heads back to the office to process the data and create the deliverables in LP360.  “We’ll be able to generate a ground surface, .las point cloud that contains millions of points across some 700 acres,” said Beckwith. “It will be almost infinitely more than you would ever be able to gather with a traditional surveying crew.”

About Caulfield and Wheeler

Since 1982, the firm of Caulfield & Wheeler, Inc. and its principals have been providing Professional Civil Engineering, Planning, Land Surveying and Mapping, Landscape Architecture Planning, and UAS Operations services throughout Southeast Florida. 

Project experience ranges from high-end oceanfront residences to Developments of Regional Impact. The scope of projects includes new construction and redevelopment projects, retail and mixed ¬use center revitalization and modifications, municipal centers, and parks, prestigious planned-unit developments and residential projects and numerous design surveys for governmental agencies, various schools, and Universities.

Caulfield & Wheeler, Inc. is a leader in the application of new technology. All of the firm’s work is greatly enhanced by the latest hardware and software computer technology.

About GeoCue and Microdrones

GeoCue and Microdrones have joined together to bring geospatial experts the very best in drone surveying equipment, geospatial software, workflow, training and support for high accuracy LiDAR and drone mapping to help civil engineering and surveying professionals achieve successful data collection, processing, and management.

With its TrueView drone LiDAR and imagery sensors, LP360 point cloud data processing software, and fully integrated systems from Microdrones, we are the leader in LiDAR mapping processing, able to meet customers where they are in terms of technology adoption, budget, and resources. 

To learn more about our full portfolio of aerial surveying equipment and software, schedule a meeting with one of our sales managers today.