Like many, I think the opportunity for drones in agriculture is huge; even in the face of strict regulations, drone-based precision agriculture is already making an impact. The Waypoint blog from SenseFly recently interviewed four experienced land surveyors that are already using drones. The interview included some interesting material and I encourage you to follow the links below to read the entire article or learn more about the interviewed parties.
That being said, I’m going to cherry pick a few of the questions that I found to be most interesting. Let’s start first with the “who.” Here are the four surveyors interviewed by the Waypoint blog:
- Rachel Kohlman, SLS, P. Surv – Project Manager at Meridian Surveys (Alta) Ltd. (Canada)
- Peter Williams, B.App.Sc (Surv) – Managing Director at 4D Surveying (Australia)
- Ryan McMahon, P.Eng., A.L.S. – Professional Engineer at Measurement Sciences (Canada)
- Brian Kerr, O.L.S., C.L.S. – Senior Project Manager at McIntosh Perry (Canada)
The first question that stood out to me was, “What convinced you to implement drones into your business?”
Kohlman: We saw this new product at the SLS AGM in 2014 and it caught our eye and imagination. We could tell that this was going to be a tool that would become necessary for land surveying in the future and we couldn’t wait to get in on this new technology.
Kerr: Using UAVs became an option for our business when it became clear we required both faster turnaround times and more detailed modelling of site topography on many projects. UAV mapping offers quicker, more complete mapping than ground survey methods in many cases, so that problem areas can be identified and addressed.
The second question that I wanted to share was, “What are the key benefits that drones bring to your company?“
Kohlman: Using a UAS can be a real time saver for a lot of jobs and it enables us to get a very complete set of data, something that a crew in the field would have a hard time doing in a timely fashion. At times it can also really impact on safety. Instead of sending our personnel into a situation with steep grades or equipment that could potentially be hazardous we are able to avoid this by remotely collecting this data.
Williams: Drones have enabled us to create a new branch of our business, offering clients a very good product at cost-effective rates in comparison to conventional methods.
McMahon: We are able to generate our own current high-resolution imagery for areas where none is available. We are also able to use the drones to produce quality surface models with very dense sampling.
Kerr: UAVs provide an affordable alternative to field survey personnel, allowing us to complete projects at a lower cost and with fewer staff, while acquiring data that is more complete over the majority of a site, and allowing the onsite staff to focus on specific areas which may require on-the-ground detail acquisition.
I like the first question because I think the answers reflect a forward-thinking attitude that lead the surveyors towards integrating drones into their businesses. The second, I like, because it shows the real-world benefits drones are providing. Benefits that translate into dollars and cents for surveyors that adopt them. If you’d like to read the rest of the article, then I highly encourage you to check out “Land Surveying With Drones – An Expert Discussion (Part 1)” at the Waypoint blog.
If you think a future in drone-based precision agriculture is for you, or you have a strong interest in drone GIS or drone mapping, then check out our Drone GIS/Mapping course. It’s just what you need to learn the skills required in this rapidly growing and lucrative industry.
senseFly was founded in 2009 by a team of robotics researchers and quickly became the industry leader in mapping drones. Today we continue to lead the way in developing situationally aware systems that help professionals make better decisions.
senseFly is a Parrot company and a member of the Small UAV Coalition. Waypoint is the official senseFly blog, devoted to exploring and explaining professional drone (or UAV/UAS) technology, its applications, mapping and more.