The Power of Aerial Surveying with Drones

The Power of Aerial Surveying with Drones

The Power of Aerial Surveying with Drones

Drone operated by construction worker in Queensland

When it comes to carrying out surveys, accuracy and usability are essential. Clients need to know the survey they receive will be a reliable basis for designing, planning or assessing a site. Using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones, provides a number of key benefits over traditional on-the-ground surveys.


From assessing a site for engineering design and site planning to checking construction progress and environmental disturbances, UAVs have a wide range of uses. The data from the UAV can be processed into a Digital Elevation Model (DEM). This provides a digital representation of ground surface topography including every tree, structure and object. This is useful for topographical mapping as well as the calculation of earthworks and stockpile volumes.

Some sites are difficult and time consuming to survey. UAVs make it easier than ever to reach hard to reach locations. With a pre-planned flight path and with the skills of an experienced pilot, UAVs can access towers, masts, tall buildings, wind turbines and other difficult to assess areas.


Rapid improvements in UAV and camera technology over the past decade, has enabled drones to capture high quality imagery. Raw images captured by the UAV are digitally processed into high-quality orthophotos. These orthophotos are seamless and display lively colours free from atmospheric haze effects. Orthophotos are geometrically corrected and offer high detail, uniform scale and true geometry.


Completing an aerial survey with a UAV is often far more time and cost efficient than land surveying. Projects are often planned, flown and processed in as little as a 24-hr period. Aerial surveying also minimises downtime for your project as any operations happening on site don’t need to be interrupted to complete the survey.

Aerial surveying tends to only require a small team of a pilot and camera operator. Once on site, the team can get up and running in around five minutes. Full-resolution end products are available within hours or days following the survey, depending on the size of the project.

Health and Safety

UAVs are ideal the ideal tools to capture data in compromised, dangerous or sensitive environments, with minimal risk to the surveying pilot, other professionals on site and the public. All data is captured from the air with ease, limiting health and safety concerns on sites where there are collapsing buildings, rocky terrain or other hazards. This reduces planning time and negates the need for extensive health and safety considerations, enabling a quicker turnaround for the project as a whole.

Cost Savings

With a small team, rapid deployment and fast turnaround times, aerial surveying has relatively low overheads and significantly reduced costs when compared to land, light aircraft and helicopter surveys. UAVs open new horizons when it comes to what’s possible and affordable in surveying a site. Perspectives that were not achievable without huge costs and operational considerations can now be completed efficiently and cost-effectively.

Contact Arnolds for Aerial Surveying Services

Arnold Development Consultant’s expert engineering surveyors have a wealth of experience at the most demanding levels. If you’d like aerial surveying services or any other services related to land surveying or town planning, please contact your local Arnolds regional office in Brisbane, Townsville, Rockhampton, or the Gold Coast.