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Our engineers, surveyors, planners and project managers thoroughly examine all options to identify the most robust and effective solutions for our clients.

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Surveyors airborne with Drones and UAV Technology


One of the exciting things about our industry is the amazing new technology we get to play with.  We scope every project, discussing each client’s requirements and choosing the best equipment for the job.  Drones are unbeatable for fast, quiet data capture.  We will often select a two-step process where we broadly scan an area with a drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), then survey particular areas in more detail with traditional surveying equipment.

Drones can provide information very quickly and are ideal for large-scale photogrammetry.  They can provide site views that were previously not available, from angles our surveyors (or anyone without wings) would struggle to achieve.

UAVs are ideal for

Mark Finlayson, Survey Director, said “It is important to understand the different kinds of information we get from drones compared to traditional surveying methods, Lidar and laser scanners.  We consult with our clients and design surveys fit for purpose and the outputs they need.  We’ve used the larger fixed wing UAVs which are great for a long range work as well as the smaller manoeuvrable rotor drones for trickier sites such as multi-storeyed buildings.

“The information we get is fast because there is less initial detailed surveying, which is an efficient use of resources, and allows our clients to leap into the design phase very quickly.  We can then go back and drill into areas where we may need more information with a highly accurate topographical survey.”

Drone Project Example

In a recent project example we used drones to scope a large property outside of Auckland.  The greenfields site was huge and the information we gathered enabled stakeholders in numerous offices to view the area online and discuss development potential.  We were able to gather key site information quickly, accurately and, most importantly, quietly (as the owners didn’t want to alert the neighbours before they had decided whether or not to develop the property).

We used a special-purpose drone system to capture aerial photogrammetry.  The outputs included oblique video and still images along with the vertical images that, after processing, gave us hugely valuable topographical information over a large area.  In areas of particular interest we also utilised traditional survey methods and LIDAR to create a combined highly valuable digital dataset for our client.”

Mark commented “We are very pleased with the results.  The videos are terrific as they allow everyone to see the entire proposed site without needing to travel there.  The owners, engineers, specialists and consultants can review how to best utilise the property from the same dataset without having to disturb neighbours with site visits, or investing a large amount of time to travel there.  The photogrammetry extends over the property boundaries meaning that the entire area can be considered.  This has been a huge success and we’re delighted with the outcome.”

The benefits of using a drone for this project for an initial site review included:

  • Cost savings
  • Time – the site work was completed in one day, compared to an estimated seven days of traditional surveying
  • Confidentiality and privacy – the fixed wing drones are very quiet and unobtrusive

Our surveyors enjoy the challenge of using a variety of surveying tools to get the information required.  When combined with appropriate ground control the quality of the information we obtain is excellent.

Mark Finlayson added “The drone technology is fantastic and the data is perfect for fast concept design and early stakeholder engagement.  We are very excited by the potential.  The combination of LIDAR, aerial photogrammetry and traditional surveying allows our clients to move forward quietly and faster with confidence.

“Another advantage is client privacy.  We take confidentiality very seriously.  Whether we are working for a government department, a private individual or a company who has sensitive plans we ensure confidentiality is respected.”

Our surveyors utilise a variety of equipment to capture the information our clients require.  We offer a range of deliverables and we are here to offer advice and support.  Contact us to discuss your next project or read more about our services.

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