Exploring Drones in Civil Engineering

July 24, 2020

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, some significant challenges civil engineers face include improving infrastructure resilience, increasing construction productivity, and maintaining site safety. With a whole host of responsibilities paramount throughout each project, it can be difficult to keep track of these priorities and dedicate enough time to each. By using a drone equipped with DroneDeploy software, civil engineers can significantly reduce the time spent on each task and, in turn, dedicate their time to more pertinent issues, saving money and human capital in the long run. In a world where budget optimization is of the utmost importance, a drone can be a game-changer for your organization.

DroneDeploy's Enhanced Progress Reports keep clients and executives up to date.

Improving Infrastructure

Managing physical assets is a key benefit to using drone technology. By piloting a drone, users can conduct site surveys and perform manual inspections without actually being on-site. Plus, with features like Live Stream and Enhanced Progress Reports, stakeholders in multiple locations can stay fully informed. The Inspection Workflow is especially helpful in this. After flying over your given area or asset, users can tag issues and @mention co-workers or contractors to assign them tasks. In turn, these individuals can comment back on the stream in-app in real-time.

Thoroughly inspecting your sites with a drone ensures that workers can be proactive in improving or building infrastructure and preventing deterioration. A drone equipped with a thermal camera can further assist this effort by identifying areas strained by weather damage or leaks. DroneDeploy’s Thermal Live Map visualizes temperature-range variability immediately and allows users to “see the unseeable” - damage undetected by the naked eye. Also, check out how 3D models and point clouds can aid in this.

Comparing maps and map measurements to one another side-by-side can help you visually track changes, detect issues and monitor stockpile quantities and slope stability on a job site.

Increasing Productivity

Insights gleaned from drone data allow engineers to make the most informed decisions and prioritize approaches to their problems. With high-resolution images and a complete, precise map of their site, engineers can evaluate terrain conditions, best access points, potential hazards, and more, just from one drone flight. Because the app records this information, teams can frequently revisit flight plans or maps, and create side-by-side comparisons to track progress, significantly reducing the time spent on projects, saving money, and enabling more efficient uses of labor.

DroneDeploy has specialized tools to make this process even more accessible. With Earthworks capabilities, users can monitor grade over time using cut/fill tools that measure elevation. Volume Measurement provides an accurate method of analyzing volumes on your map. Finally, Stockpile Reports detail the total amount of different materials in your stockpiles, presented in a shareable PDF.

Maintaining site safety is of the utmost importance.

Maintaining Site Safety

Piloting a drone removes the need for labor or aircraft in hazardous situations. What could take a full team a week to do can be accomplished in just one day with a drone, with the added benefits of an optimal vantage point, a detailed record of inspection, and a safer environment for workers. Additionally, projects can be monitored and surveyed without disrupting work or shutting the site down.

Utilizing a drone for city planning and civil engineering jobs can ensure that projects remain on time and under budget. Drone data expedites daily processes and reduces the hours spent on time-consuming tasks such as large-scale inspections and renovations. By allocating resources and labor to the most pertinent assignments, engineers can prioritize their duties and create the most efficient working environment. Equipped with tools tailored for their operations, those in charge can make the best-informed decisions for their organization.

If you’re interested in learning more about drone use in civil engineering, read our e-book on site planning or construction.

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