If you're involved in a major construction or engineering project, you know that the success of this venture relies to a very large extent on the quality of data. You will need up-to-date and reliable data at every stage of the operation and must have a way of gathering this information efficiently using the latest technology. At one time you may have had to send individual operatives out into a hazardous environment or commission a manned aircraft of some kind to scout the area. However, today you can use unmanned aerial vehicle technology in a number of different ways, and it pays for you to fully understand their capabilities.
People tend to think of aerial photography whenever they look at a drone. Certainly, this type of machine is ideal when you want to streamline the process of collection and if you're trying to avoid the inconsistencies associated with weather, budget or timing. You'll be able to get imagery in near-real time or presented as infrared, and you will be able to use the data collected to generate 3-D digital surface models. Some software solutions allow you to integrate drone-gathered data into drafting systems or GIS, and you may be able to manage the next phase of your project using these cost-effective analysis methods.
Each vehicle is GPS controlled for maximum accuracy, and each image can be correlated into a mosaic that is geo-referenced and ortho-rectified. You will also be able to satisfy environmental regulators and other stakeholders as you use the latest technology to deal with any objections as they may present themselves. Once you get used to this mode of collection, you will be able to use it on a regular basis, knowing that the data you acquire will be up to date, highly specific and very cost-effective.
Remember that you can benefit from access to this data almost immediately after the appropriate flight. If subsequent questions arise and you need to clarify a particular point, then you can commission another flight without undue delay. In the 'old days' you would have to book aircraft time within a busy schedule and make sure that the pilot was available while worrying whether they could get clearance to fly in certain conditions. This process is now a lot easier and subject to far less red tape, so it is more beneficial to you.
As you explore your opportunities, make sure that you bring in experts to help you configure your approach. You'll want to know how to use the best vehicles for your project, how to plan your survey for maximum effect and how to integrate the findings with the latest software solutions. Bring in an unmanned systems consultant for assistance.