Drones a Critical Requirement for Infrastructure Projects

by Measure Australia

Drone technology has revolutionised spatial capturing and topographical surveying. With drones surveyors, engineers, and builders can perform highly accurate topographical surveys in a fraction of the time and less money than traditional methods.

Why Certified Topographical Surveys Are Necessary for Infrastructure Projects

A topographical survey, contour survey, is an essential part of any infrastructure project. Before engineers and architects can start planning, they need to determine what the potential construction site looks like and if it's a viable location for a proposed structure, road, or development.

Surveying identifies and maps the existing features on and under the ground at a construction site. This includes gathering detailed data about the existing terrain, trees, buildings, streets, water management systems and waste management systems. With UAV (or drone) surveys, surveyors can pinpoint the location, height, and size of all objects at the location and in its surrounding areas.

Topographical surveys also mark the differences in elevation showing where hills and dips are located throughout the landscape. This data is used to create a contour map and a 3D rendering of the construction area that will be used to model new infrastructure.

This is particularly useful because it highlights any areas that may hinder the construction process. Additionally, it showcases the surrounding landscape that may affect work or be affected by the project being completed. Being aware of rivers, mountains, telecommunications towers, and particularly wildlife can also aid engineers in the planning phase so that they're able to anticipate potential issues and address them.

An accurate depiction of a proposed site can help builders, architects and engineers decide if a specific site is suitable for a particular structure. And if it is suitable, the accurate data models can help engineers, architects, and other stakeholders develop designs that meet the G71 construction standards taking the site's existing elevation and conditions into account.

Why Using High-Quality LiDAR Drone Surveys Are More Efficient

Aerial surveys captured with drones are becoming a necessity for construction projects. Drone surveys result in a more detailed site map. They also take less time to process and capture data and at a fraction of the cost of traditional surveying methods. There are two types of drone-based modeling technologies used to create 3D models of ground and terrain contours. One, photogrammetry, uses high-resolution photography, while the other, LiDAR-based surveying, employs laser imaging to capture data.

Drone-based LiDAR surveys provide surveyors all the essential data they need to produce a topographic survey. A drone pilot captures the LiDAR laser survey remotely. The information and imagery can then be used in a client's 3D geospatial system or in a free viewer. Not all LiDAR sensors and pilots offer quality results.

For instance, at the time of publishing, Measure Australia  has the only Reigl miniVUX-2 LiDAR in Australia. So, we're able to capture over 1 million points per second with a 360° field of view to ensure our clients' complete acquisition of a location. MA can deliver a point density of between 600 - 800 points per square metre in 3D form. We also certify the ground control capture points and provide professional surveyor certification if required.

Benefits of Using High-Quality LiDAR Drone Surveys for Infrastructure Projects

LiDAR is a highly accurate and enduring record of the precise and high-resolution conditions at the time of capture. This helps builders, engineers and stakeholders measure and evaluate the area's change over time at both a macro and granular level.

What's more, it enables the surveyor to perform their high-value role more efficiently, by eliminating time-consuming fieldwork. Drones can cover a large area of land in a matter of hours compared to the multiple fieldwork days required using conventional methods.

Finally, LiDAR drone surveying is safer, which means that surveyors don't have to visit the construction site to take measurements. When surveying a motorway extension, surveyors would avoid exposure to heavy machinery, vehicles, and other hazards, including Australia's aggressive snakes.

Efficiency, accuracy, and safety have a great impact on the budget and timeline of an infrastructure project. Having precise data points through every stage of the process is an invaluable asset to our clients and their stakeholders. If you're considering an LiDAR survey for an upcoming project, get in touch to learn more about our LiDAR services.

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