Drones for Surveying

Drone Surveying and Mapping Session at COMMERCIAL UAV EXPO


If you’re attending this year’s Commercial UAV Expo at Caesar’s Forum in Las Vegas, then don’t miss a special session on Drone Surveying and Mapping, Wednesday, September 7, from 11am -12:30pm, moderated by Douglas Spotted Eagle, the Director of Educational Programming at Sundance Media Group, LLC.

Many professionals in mapping and surveying have recognized the opportunities presented by drones, understanding how technology could save time and money and improve the quality of their work. Remote sensing allows us to collect large amounts of information from a distance, but the usefulness of this information depends on the accuracy and the resolution. What does it mean for a drone to replace or augment a given survey task though? How is the value of the technology quantified? This session will explore these details as part of several defined sessions followed by a moderated panel with surveyors.

Session Moderated by Douglas Spotted Eagle, Sundance Media Group

Drone Surveying vs Traditional Surveying – Where’s the Value?
Integrating drones in surveying workflows is a challenge on multiple levels but doing so most often proves to be worthwhile since they’ve created quantifiable value that has allowed surveyors to do more with less. Those distinctions can be measured in terms of cost savings, time savings and improved safety. Presenters will outline what these differences look like in survey workflows and on mapping projects while answering questions about how drones serve their core business. They’ll also specifically talk through…

· What UAV platform and sensor payloads are most commonly being used by surveyors
· How have drones transformed established data collection workflows for the better
· What is the bottom-line ROI of using UAS technology for surveyors
· What UAV operational challenges have operators and stakeholders had to contend with

Douglas Spotted Eagle, Sundance Media Group

Assessing the Accuracy of Drone Survey Data: A Discussion
Are you confident in your drone data accuracy? Creating survey-grade data products is a complex process and validating that those datasets meet accuracy requirements is critical to success.  Factors such as flight plan design, sensor specifications, ground control, weather, processing methodology, and quality control are all considerations that need to be included in workflows.  The steps required to confirm horizontal and vertical accuracies using traditional photogrammetric principles will be discussed. The goal of the presentation is to dissect research and specific use cases to engage attendees in a conversation on how to have more confidence in your drone data.

Sara Courter, Woolpert
Ryan Bowe, Woolpert

Jeff Davis, UAV Pilot for Crafton Tull, prepares drone surveying equipment from Microdrones

Maximizing Workflow Efficiency for Complicated Urban ALTA Surveys Through Drones + AI Drafting Solutions 
When it comes to land surveying, drone aerial imagery is rapidly becoming recognized as an effective way to collect site data compared to traditional surveying methods. However, this efficient field technique is creating a new challenge in the office: converting aerial imagery into usable CAD drawings. Drafters are left dealing with aerial image megafiles, hoping their programs don't crash as they tediously connect the dots on buildings, curbs, parking lines, and other site features to create plans. High tech, efficient data collection is being followed up with outdated manual drafting methods, and as a result, many civil and land surveying firms are missing out on the true productivity potential of drones.

Crafton-Tull is maximizing the workflow efficiency of complicated urban ALTA surveys by combining drone data collection with AirWorks' AI feature extraction software. Since integrating AI into the drafting process, Crafton-Tull has enjoyed increased productivity and smoother, faster transitions from raw, aerial imagery to deliverables. Using the Lofts at Ridgemont apartment complex development in Oklahoma City as an example, Crafton-Tull and AirWorks will present how drone data collection plus AI data processing can reduce early-stage design costs and allow civil and land surveying consultants to meet tight turnaround times by freeing up staff to tackle more thought-driven tasks and take on additional work.

· Problem: Faced with completing an ALTA survey for a complicated 23-acre site with hundreds of parking spaces and numerous intricate walkways, Crafton-Tull knew they needed to explore alternatives to traditional surveying and drafting in order to meet the project deadline.
· Solution and Savings: By flying the site with a Microdrone MD-4 1000 equipped with a Sony RX1R II 42 MP camera, Crafton-Tull significantly reduced the field hours that would have been required to manually locate the extensive site features, resulting in 33% savings on data collection. Additionally, uploading the orthomosaic files to AirWorks and allowing their AI software to autonomously identify site features, assign them to the correct layer, and create the linework saved an additional 10% over manual drafting methods.
· Additional Benefits: Not only did drone data collection and AI feature extraction drafting reduce the man hours and budget, but delegating image processing and linework to AirWorks allowed staff to focus on more complex portions of the ALTA survey, such as easements, boundaries, and title work. Being able to complete the professional tasks concurrently with AI drafting resulted in a condensed final deliverable timeline.

Overall, the faster turnaround times and elimination of certain tedious aspects of manual drafting have given Crafton-Tull the freedom and confidence to pull in additional work and take on last-minute projects.

Adam Kersnowski, AirWorks
Jeff Davis, Crafton Tull

USGS Small UAS for Scientific Research and Operational Applications
Since 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Uncrewed Systems (UAS) Office has made significant progress with integrating UAS into data collection workflows. This progress involved conducting many proof-of-concept projects in several areas of operational research and land resource management. The overall goal of these projects are to make the UAS platforms and sensors a commonly used remote sensing tool in the collection of data for real-world problem solving, by the collection of high-resolution and highly accurate data from UAS.

While cutting edge UAS (drone) technology receives much attention, the even more rapidly changing availability of small, innovative sensors on-board the UAS are making the technology viable for real-world applications.  Many of the data types are not significantly different than that of traditional data historically captured by satellites, manned aircraft and many other remote sensing platforms for several decades by USGS scientists. However, the advent of the small UAS does provide exciting new capabilities by increasing data collection mobility, resolution, accuracy, and safety, as well as potentially reducing operational data collection costs.
Results from the previous fourteen years of UAS research by the USGS has shown great potential for the technology such as was proven in support of the 2018 Hawaii Kilauea Volcano Eruption.  Many biological, hydrological, geological and mapping applications have also been repeatedly tested and proven as the technology is now providing regular operational data collection methods using the new tool for science researchers and land managers.

Lance Brady, U.S. Geological Survey 

Attendees will come away from this session with a sense of what it means to take the next step with drone adoption and integration for their survey workflow or project, no matter where they are in that process.

If you won't be at the Commercial UAV Expo but would like more information about drone surveying and mapping, schedule a time to meet with one of our sales professionals.