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Drone surveys explained and why they beat a standard survey every time?

Why choose a drone survey over a traditional survey and are they more expensive?

Drones have the capabilities to carry out unimpeded inspections to hard to reach areas and in hard to reach places. It is fair to say that if a thorough or ‘destructive’ test needs to be carried out then a drone will not be suitable or a substitute for in-person investigations. But in the right scenarios where space or time or funds are limited then scaffold or cherry pickers may not be suitable. Drones are quick, nimble, can move into tight locations, and be controlled from one point on the ground. When compared to a pole cam for example you are limited by height and simple zoom images. Drones have the capability to fly around an object and provide multiple images of all elevations.

Are drone surveys becoming more popular?

Drones are becoming more popular in all aspects of society from grassroots up to high specification search and rescue and industrial markets. Recent research highlight considerable year-on-year growth being forecast based on a rise in application and funding. To be frank and as with most tech in recent years, things are always consistently getting smaller and more advanced. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/alexoconnorsussexdronesurveys_13-ways-commercial-drones-are-changing-work-activity-6927902664789790720-X6Db?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=member_desktop_web

The Formula 1 industry makes note of what it calls the trickle-down effect where technology developed by experts will eventually find its way into road cars that are used every day. This can be said for drone technology too and things that were unheard of 5 years ago are now commonplace in even entry-level drone currently.

Do you need any sort of license to carry out drone surveys?

Licence is not really the correct term. It’s more of a ‘permission’ from the Civil Aviation Authority. The regulations around drone flight were overhauled in 2020 and made a bit simpler in some ways and a bit more complex in others. Put simply, The CAA adopted more of a risk-based approach and now considers what is required in terms of permission level is based on the weight of the drone being flown. So the lighter the drone means the less qualification are needed and a drone that weighs less than 250g that could be considered a toy will have less constraints than a heavy weight drone of 20kg or more.

Is there a limit to where you can use a drone?

Based on the regulation noted above and dependant on the weight of the drone yes there are restrictions but they are primarily focused on separation distance between the drone and ‘uninvolved people’. Ie members of the public. Throughout the UK there are also areas of restricted airspace around prisons and airports or secure locations and power plants. These areas can be ‘geofenced’ meaning an invisible wall can be placed around them so commercial drones can not enter and simple stop and hover in mid-air should they come up against it.

Does cost reflect quality when considering a purchase? Drones obviously vary in price but you have to consider the scenario or objective of the work required. You wouldn’t use a mini drone from a gadget shop in a high-risk search and rescue mission on a mountain pass. The same can be said for the purchase of a service – Operators should be instructed based on their experience, and qualifications to ensure the job is carried out safely and all CAA requirements are covered. The old adage remains that you get what you pay for; Sometimes that is ok but in most commercial circumstances it is not.

Originally posted on https://downlandssurveying.co.uk/surveying/drone-surveys-explained/

Article kindly supplied by Alex O’Connor of Sussex Drone Surveys

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