Real-time control of the project is crucial for on-time completion. Our fixed-wing mapping drones efficiently deliver real-time data for monitoring a construction site’s progress, measuring cut and fill volumes for reporting, and generating geo-accurate 3D building models – all while keeping staff safe and productivity moving.

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    How are drones used in construction?

    Thanks to the efficiency of drones, surveying a new construction site takes minutes, requires less resources and comes at a very low cost. Following are a few areas where construction and engineering professionals are using drones today:

    Building future  transportation infrastructure 

    • Airports
    • Railways
    • Roads
    •  Bridges

    Maintaining energy  and utility reliability 

    • Oil and gas pipelines
    • Hydroelectric power plants
    • Electrical powerlines
    • Solar and wind farms

    Simplifying inspections  for large asset maintenance 

    • Dams
    • Water reservoirs

    What are the benefits of drones for contractors and engineers? 

    Fixed-wing drones have made it safer, faster and less expensive to collect geospatial data. From the early pre-construction phase to tracking weekly material inventories, drones have made it easier for surveyors, engineers and project managers to work smarter with greater productivity and efficiency.

    Time savings – Fixed-wing drones such as the eBee X can cover mid- to large-scale worksites quickly and efficiently without disrupting productivity on the ground.

    Reduced costs – Surveys completed by fixed-wing drone are up to 80% quicker than terrestrial methods and require significantly less time and resources. And operators can enjoy additional time savings by using intuitive flight planning software such as eMotion and its optimized corridor mapping feature.

    Increased safety – Remote data capture removes surveyors from dangerous areas around construction sites such as roadways, buildings and infrastructure. Due to lightweight, impact-resistant Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) material, plus the smart design of the eBee fixed-wing drones well as pre-programmed emergency actions within eMotion, construction operators have a robust, safe drone for conducting mapping missions.

    Higher accuracy – Fixed-wing drones have the ease-of-use and user-friendliness to hit high accuracy requirements with photogrammetry, while directly complementing and validating LiDAR measurements to ensure accuracy in reporting. With an eBee X, construction engineers can achieve high absolute accuracy of down to 3 cm / 1.2 in. via built-in RTK/PPK – no ground control points required.

    Better documentation – The speed and regularity at which drone data can be captured allow current and up-to-date insights that maximize site workflows. Having more complete documentation throughout the project life cycle can help better allocate resources, reduce errors and eliminate disputes. Construction engineers can achieve high absolute accuracy of down to 3 cm / 1.2 in. via built-in RTK/PPK – no ground control points required.

    Faster turnaround – High accuracy in data that’s repeatable and prompt helps improve weekly inventory estimates and monthly reporting by eliminating costly accumulating errors.

    How are drones used in construction workflows? 

    Optimize bidding and pre-construction

    Produce a topographical survey of the entire project to ensure accuracy in planning from bid to groundbreaking.

    • Speed up project planning with accurate pre-construction surveys that guide engineering design.
    • Capture the jobsite before groundbreaking for future reference.
    • Share a 3D digital twin of the project with stakeholders.

    Accelerate progress tracking 

    Generate fast 2D and 3D maps to track earthworks progress, measure weekly stockpile volumes and develop accurate estimates.

    • Monitor site progress and document activity for In-construction, and as-built surveys collected with simple and routine drone flights.
    • Identify plan deviations early by comparing high-density point clouds to early design plans.
    • Collect accurate volume measurements for cut and fill to closely manage inventories and budgets.

    Streamline reporting  

    Conduct weekly reporting and monitor monthly KPIs to collaborate with project stakeholders.

    • Leverage eMotion’s built-in Flight Data Manager to automatically handle the georeferencing and preparation of images for post-processing.
    • Turn your data into a variety of deliverables, including high-density point clouds (millions of points per flight), 3D meshes and georeferenced orthomosaics.
    • Extract relevant information from photogrammetry using PIX4Dsurvey to develop models and engineering-ready CAD files.
    • Generate outputs compatible with popular survey software such as AutoCAD, ArcGIS, Bentley and others for sharing with project stakeholders.

    What types of data outputs can you expect?

    Orthomosaic raster – A large image comprised of adjoining orthorectified images that have been digitally reconstructed. Orthomosaic maps are helpful to construction firms for monitoring site occupation and measuring distances between points.

    RGB raw images – Unprocessed, raw images offer and even greater level of detail and can be very useful for asset inspecations and analysis.

    3D point cloud – Point cloud maps comprise millions of individual points featuring X, Y, Z geospatial coordinates and an RGB value. Construction engineers use them to calculate complex stockpile volumes and automate cut/fill analysis.

    3D maps – A 3D textured mesh is a reproduction of the edges, faces, vertices and texture of the area shot by the drone. This model is most useful for visual inspection or for when external stakeholder input or public involvement is essential for a project.

    Digital Surface Model (DSM) – 3D display of an area that includes the tops of buildings, trees and other ground-based objects. This detailed model captured with a drone is valuable for tracking earthworks, water flow management and measuring excavation depths.

    Digital Terrain Model (DTM) – 3D display of vector data that features natural terrain and regularly spaced points. DTMs can be used in planning new developments such as building construction or noise barrier designs.

    Contour lines – Topographic map that delineates surface elevation using contour lines. The construction industry benefits from these contour line outputs for grade and slope monitoring.

    Cadastre maps – 2D property maps. Updated cadastral maps of entire townships and cities help determine where easements are located, utilities and other features adjacent to a worksite.

    High compatibility – Drone data easily imports into popular third-party construction and earthworks software such as AutoCAD, Trimble Business Center, NRG Survey, Virtual Surveyor, etc.

    What software do you need?

    • eMotion software is a leading drone software solution for flight planning, geotagging and photo stitching. From here the imagery can be exported for further processing in Pix4D and other software.
    • PIX4Dreact, PIX4Dmatic and PIX4Dcloud are popular photogrammetry solutions for generating rapid-stitch orthomosaic maps in the field for emergency teams and first responders.
    • Measure Ground Control can be used to manage a drone fleet and to process multispectral imagery from MicaSense sensors.

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