As a professional engineer, you've dedicated yourself to improving the country's infrastructure, which is in need of major upgrades and new construction. In order to impact the regions that are in the most need of investment, you've taken on projects that are located in some dangerous and hard to reach spots.
You will need land surveying done before you begin on any project. A professional surveyor, like those at Great Lakes Engineering, will perform the necessary measuring and mapping of the landscape so you are aware of every square inch of the terrain before you begin. However, even the best surveying company would be risking life and limb to examine some of the high and mountainous surfaces that will be used for new bridges and roadways.
Be relieved to know that technology in the surveying industry is not limited to GPS. High tech has found its way in, and surveyors are now using drones, or unmanned flying vehicles, to go where they can't. Here's what you can expect.
Drones use cameras that are mounted on the device and capture aerial shots of the site. The drone, whose size ranges from a small bird to a pizza, can fit in crevices and even fly upside down. Not only is this safer than using a person, but the data is reliable and escapes human error. When the drone returns, you can view the video in three dimensional form on your computer or tablet.
With technology, you might think there are limitations tied to a particular power source. Drones run on battery technology, and while the battery has its limits, this won't interfere with results. A drone has the capacity to return to its starting location when power is low or there is some other obstacle. It can be programmed to land on a docking station that in a matter of moments removes the old battery and replaces it with one that's fully charged. In the end this could be more efficient than a human whose endurance may be more limited.
Drones are continuously making their way to the mainstream into different sectors in addition to surveying. The market was worth $450 million in 2014, which was almost a 50 percent jump from the previous year. As startup companies and large technology bellwethers alike jump on the drone bandwagon, the costs to develop and sell these machines are falling. As the cost for the surveying company drops, so too will the size of your bill.
While you could invest in your own drone, leave the surveying to the professionals. They are experienced at controlling these devices at awkward angles and are familiar with federal flight restrictions in certain air space.