Land surveying is a process that needs to be done before accomplishing various activities involving land; for instance, buying, selling, and subdivision. Basically, it is the mapping and measurement of a certain portion of the environment using technological equipment. Land surveyors are professionals who have undergone formal education and various trainings to acquire the exceptional knowledge and skills required for their jobs. They need to be technologically adept since land surveying is done using advanced technology. Have you heard of drones? Yes, they are encompassed by those hardcore technological ideas and are believed to bring a big change to land surveying services. In this article, we will discuss about the importance of drone technology in land surveying.

What are Drones?

Assuming you are someone who isn’t familiar with this whole thing, a drone is basically an unmanned aircraft. It is also called an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or a flying robot. It can be remotely controlled or fly by itself through flight plans that are software-controlled. Such flight plans are in their embedded system that works with GPS. Drones are known to be used for military purposes, but they are also used in different activities like traffic monitoring, weather monitoring, surveillance, fire fighting, search and rescue, film-making, recreational activities, etc. It is also used in surveying, which we will further discuss in this article.


These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they define two different things. Technically, UAV is the airplane or the hardware itself; while UAS is the complete solution – GPS, cameras, route planning software, etc. UAS means unmanned aerial system. In hindsight, UAV is only a part of UAS which is a broader term that covers various equipment and ideas. As mentioned earlier, UAVs can be used for various purposes. On the other hand, each UAS is designed based on the application it is intended for.

UAS and Surveying

UAS comes with two types that can be used for surveying. The first type is a fixed wing model which is suitable for one-man operations. It can be used for aerial mapping, topographic surveys, and terrain modelling large areas; for instance, stock piles and mine sites.

The second type is the propeller-based system or a rotary blade. It can fly in any direction or in a fixed position. It is suitable for thorough inspections and surveying areas that are hard to reach like bridges, power lines, and pipelines.

How do UASs Work?

Knowing how highly technological UASs are, it is really interesting to know how they work. What needs to be done before using such systems? What determines whether they are ready to be used?

  • Setting Up the System
    First off, route planning is done through the software that comes with the system. Then, the takeoff and landing area are programmed; and the area to be mapped is outlined.

  • Preparing the UAV
    The route program is loaded to the UAV. Presuming you are the user, you should check if it is functional and ready for use. Carefully read the checklists provided with the kit; check all components, the battery level, and all necessary concerns.

  • Launching the UAV
    Please take note that the launching process depends on the model you are using. You may opt for one that only needs to be thrown in the air provided you stand in the proper takeoff location. Some models give you the choice of manual takeoff or an automatic one.

  • Controlling the UAV
    Once launched, the UAV will fly your pre-planned route. It will likewise take images automatically (one image per second). Using tablet PC controllers, you can track the real-time progress of the UAV. You can also receive updates on position, battery power, GPS signal, and radio link status.

Meanwhile, you may opt for models that allow you to manually control the drone anytime. You will need to do this during detailed inspections wherein you can move the UAV to certain objects and avoid collisions. Do you want to do real-time viewing using video display goggles or a ground station? This is also possible in some models. Although not always required, manual controls are important and useful. They can prevent unexpected problems and obstacles; for instance, during landing.

Advantages of Surveying Using UAS

It is a given that using UAS for surveying is advantageous. But what exactly can you get from it?

  • It can work in almost any weather situation.
    Windy day, rainy day, or cloudy day – all can be perfect days to use UAS, for it can complete flights despite these weather situations.

  • It comes with safety features.
    Such safety features allow the UAVs to safely land even in situations when they lose battery power or fly out of range. This is made possible by the ‘autopilot assist’ feature and the ‘return home’ function. Moreover, GPS signal loss will not be a big problem; for the UAV will just circle in the air until it regains signal. Lastly, its design protects it from flight damage.

Such details prove how advanced the technology is and how it is used in UASs.

User Qualifications

Because UASs are indeed highly technological, high standards are set for customers. They would of course need to undergo trainings before using the system. They need to fully understand matters concerning route planning, safe flying, handling of the UAV, and troubleshooting. And of course, the chief controller should acquire a Private Pilot License. Surveying is a serious job that includes serious trainings in every aspect of it. Anyone who works in this field should have outstanding knowledge and skills; hence the requirements.

How will Drones Develop Surveying?

Learning the above mentioned details, it is undeniable that drones are indeed among the most important technological equipment used in surveying. Below are some more details as to how they can transform and improve it:

  • It makes possible the creation of high-definition and highly accurate maps.

  • It makes possible to reach difficult locations.

  • Using drones are safer in particular situations.

  • Drones can gather various types of data; for instance, photos and videos.

  • The gathered information is instantly uploaded to a server.

  • Once uploaded, the information can be accessed by any authorized individual wherever they are.

These are just a few of the numerous ways on how drones develop the whole process of surveying. Everything becomes easy, results are more accurate, and such equipment is a lot safer to use. The terms may be technical, but these details are obvious indications of how advantageous drones are. There is no need for further explanations even for the lay people who would simply like to learn some basic facts.

As mentioned earlier, surveying is a very important process. You need to do it before you can proceed with your intentions concerning a particular part of the environment. And again, it requires technological inclination for those who would like to work as a surveyor, as technology is very important in this field. As for drone technology in land surveying, you have just learned about its numerous benefits. The pieces of information discussed in this article are actually just a few of the many advantages of it; yet they speak so much about its great effects in the industry. Should you want to learn more, feel free to do more research; and prepare to be amazed by the astounding facts that you’re going to discover.