The Use of Drones in Construction

The use of Drones in the construction industry is growing in popularity. So, it was no surprise to GagaMuller Geospatial Surveying that in a recent poll on our LinkedIn, 81% of voters stated they are either:


  • Using drones

  • Using drones and want to do more with the data from it

  • Want to start using drones on their projects.


Drones can be used for all phases of a project’s lifecycle from project evaluation, planning, design, construction, and facility maintenance. In this blog we will concentrate on five use cases to give you a synopsis of how you can leverage the most from using Drones on your project.

Use Case 1: Topographic Surveys

A drone can be flow at a set height over the site and the captured data and from this we can produce accurate orthophotos, contour maps, DTM/DSM (Digital Terrain Model/Digital Surface Model) along with a dense point cloud. With this we can combine multiple data sets from different surveying methods that allows us to produce an accurate survey with a good visual data set for the project which we can be used for further analysis.



Use Case 2: Site Progress Tracking

During construction phase, drone data can be used for a multitude of uses, one of the most beneficial items is capturing an orthoimage of the site. Typically, flights are flown on a weekly basis, this data captured is then able to be compared to a previous flight in an overlay function and a visual of the site progress can be viewed by the user.

Another use for these orthoimages is for logistics planning of the project giving a complete oversight of the project and being able to identify storage and layout down areas in a site that is changing week by week.

Image from PIX4D



Use Case 3: Building Inspections

Drones allow us to view those hard-to-reach areas quickly and safely, in order to perform a visual inspection such as roof condition and bridge inspections. The drone captures imagery that allows the user view and determine if further inspection or action is required. Photos or videos along with other sensors such as thermal camera attachments can give a user a more holistic overview of the condition of the structure.


Use Case 4: Cut and Fill Analysis

We can produce various types of survey data and from this we have the ability to perform stockpile calculations and cut/fill analysis. We can use this data to analyse the amount of material that is on site and how much material is to be excavated or if material is required to be brought to site allowing us to compare previous flights to the most recent to produce an accurate earthworks report. All this data can then be associated with monthly valuations to confirm that the work was completed.



Use Case 5: 3D Modelling and Rendering

From the survey data the drone can capture a 3D model can be reproduced, the accuracy of this model depends on a number of scenarios in how the data was captured. But a model that is more accurate than a Google Earth model can be created. There are multiple cases that this data can be used for, ranging from tender bid submissions, planning, decision-making and general design across multiple industry disciplines.


Summary

The use of drones is a fantastic way of helping you capture data quickly. However, for that data to be captured to a high level of accuracy to ensure that it can be used constructively, good survey process and methodology are required. In addition, safety procedures and method statements must align with the IAA regulations. Overall, the industry is benefiting from the use of surveyed data captured from drones.

 

If you are interested in availing of any of the above services get in touch with andy.ricci@gagamuller.com in the GagaMuller Geospatial Surveying division for how we can help integrate drones into your project workflows.