Synergy News & Blog: London Office

To drone or not to drone?

The use of drones is becoming commonplace among the surveying profession and mapping professionals. At Synergy, drones have been used by our Building Surveyors to carry out inspections and condition surveys. We explore the advantages and disadvantages of this high tech piece of surveying equipment.

Advantages:

  • Drones provide an aerial vantage point which may not be practically, safely or financially available through more traditional means such as cherry pickers, scissor lifts etc.
  • Drones can cover a large area in a short amount of time due to their small size and nimble ability. There is no need to move and relocate truck mounted cherry pickers or similar access equipment to view different locations on the same site or property.
  • Where we have used drones for roof surveys they can provide an excellent overview of a roof area and are able to hone in with ease on the identified defects for closer inspection.
  • The quality of photographs and video footage is exceptional with most drones now having image stabilised 4K gimble mounted cameras on them. This allows the user to capture images and video in any orientation, extremely clearly. This is very helpful to the surveyor as it allows you to zoom into images to inspect areas and elements afterwards.

Disadvantages:

  • The weather – rain and high winds prevent the drone from flying.
  • The battery life is quite short – a drone will need to land and have batteries replaced every 10 – 20 minutes. This could be less if there is a breeze that the drone is compensating for.
  • Certain site constraints such as overhead cables or structures will prevent the drone from accessing all areas.
  • Recent regulations have been brought in to prevent the flying of drones within certain radiuses of airports or sensitive areas.
  • The ‘overlook’ factor. Not everyone likes the idea that a drone will inadvertently view and capture areas outside of its area of work, due to the nature of its field of view.

On balance, drones are a very useful tool to a surveyor and to our team at Synergy. They generally provide a fast and effective means of accessing difficult locations where more traditional means would not be possible.

There will always be times and sites that do not lend themselves to drone use, whereby other methods are required and therefore each situation requires careful consideration first.

Posted on 19/6/2019
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