How Drones for Surveying and Mapping Boost Productivity in Construction and Real Estate

The construction sector is set to impact $15.5 trillion global output by 2030. Drones for surveying and mapping will be integral to keep pace with this projection.

US$15.5 trillion – that’s the impact channeled through ‘construction’ by the year 2030, according to a study by PwC. That’s a tall target. Thankfully, technology is keeping up with the demand to streamline the development and quality of construction and real-estate projects. Drones, as an industry would grow at a CAGR of 16-17% up to 2023, touching US$ 21.47 billion by 2021. Align this fast and innovation-filled run of drones with high-end surveying and mapping and you will reach the 2030 mark with time to spare.

Think about this. You are planning large scale commercial development on a hundred acres of the recently acquired land. You need a detailed assessment of the terrain covering details like topography, soil analysis, surrounding structures, etc. If the land is sloping, you would need clear dimensions and measurements to augment your plans. Whether the soil is marshy or rocky, it would influence how you proceed. There are many such things that need to be considered beforehand. If this research is not up to the mark, it would result in escalating costs at later development stages and unnecessary delays.

Now that we know the importance of detailed site analysis, the other factor is the time taken to do it and its viability. Manual surveillance and mapping of the area would take many weeks. Even the gathered data would be prone to natural collation error, based on the touchpoints it would go through.

So, why would you still go ahead with this? Two things. Future risk assessment and planning/operational efficiency. There is, however, a much better and practical way to do this. Drone-based surveillance and mapping.

Drones give live surveying and mapping of any site, no matter the isolation

Have your engineers view every square meter of the site right in their laptops. Drones carry high definition cameras with a complete 360-degree viewing capacity, capable of multi-level zooming. Engineers and supervisors can reach areas with low accessibility with clear and live video surveillance. All they must do is set waypoints to which the drone would move. Everything else would be expertly handled by the drone’s autopilot.

Precise vertical take-off and landing give the engineers the luxury to operate from lesser open-ground space. And with total control over the camera, they can capture each aspect of the terrain and record them live for deeper analysis. All information would be documented as it is received in clear HD video format, ready for all stakeholder assessment. Want to get the investors and the buyers up-to-speed? Just collate the visual data and send it along.

Drone-enabled heat-mapping gives an edge in anomaly detection

Clear thermal imaging with black-hot or white-hot preferential alignment gives the actionable insights about the depth and structure of the soil. Having foresight about the structure and make of the land gives engineers and developers a clear idea of the work to be employed. Catching these in time would eliminate future bottlenecks, where heavy investment would be otherwise locked in.

Armed with the topography or contour analysis of the land along with information of the soil, supervisors and planners can take a strategic decision on the layout of the roads, buildings, access points, and even the duration for complete development.

Perfect photogrammetry-enabled 3D modelling of the land

Drones are more than unmanned aerial vehicles. The technology or software that enhances their abilities keeps going from one breakthrough to another. ideaForge drones are leading from the front.

We know that knowing the exact dimensions of the terrain is essential, this has been established. Going much further than live video surveying and detailed mapping, the drones employ deep photogrammetry-based intelligence. Engineers, supervisors, and architects can have at their fingertips, a proper 3D model of the entire area. This, with the exact dimensions of all entities natural or artificial occupying the land. Moreover, it would have the soil and terrain details, all in one clear rendition.

Development tracking and reporting – Live Drone Surveillance

That’s one thing to know how and where to develop. The actual development would raise unique challenges in themselves. Tracking and supervising work across many acres generally lead to oversight. Some of these oversights cannot even be addressed through manual surveillance. For example, a close examination of the structural integrity of high-rise in development from multiple angles.

Live drone surveillance enhances the supervisors’ and architects’ abilities to be on top of all anomalies and errors before they become critical. Perhaps a load-bearing column is put under more ‘tension’ than it can ideally withstand. Supervisors, with the help of timely drone surveillance, can reinforce this column before any implications manifest themselves. This is also an example of a clear safety benefit of getting the right information at the right time.

Such surveillance is also essential in documenting all development for future assessment and process improvement.

The point to be made is simple. Timely intel is gold when it is, in fact, in time. It can save millions in resource and time cost. It may also end up saving lives. And all this at least 4 times faster than manual surveying and mapping, and far more efficient.

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