Recently, the company Laserpas used airborne radio controlled drones to complete a survey of the Romanian power grid. The survey covered a total of 358 km of power lines. As a result of the survey effort, the data on locations of power lines was completed, 50 km of previously undocumented lines were added to records,
Recently, the company Laserpas used airborne radio controlled drones to complete a survey of the Romanian power grid. The survey covered a total of 358 km of power lines. As a result of the survey effort, the data on locations of power lines was completed, 50 km of previously undocumented lines were added to records, and the survey identified additional security threats.
The drones that completed the work collected almost 200,000 photographs that contained accurate coordinates of power lines and allowed surveyors to identify missing infrastructure, tree hazards, and other issues. The results of the survey were so powerful, an additional 300 km of power lines will be surveyed in the near future. But this type of surveying is needed around the world, and that means an uptick in demand for UAV pilots.
The Growing Market for Drone Pilots in Surveying
Professional surveyors are turning more and more to remote piloted drones equipped with video, camera, and other surveying equipment to complete projects that would previously have required a pilot’s license, small aircraft, and related support team. For a fraction of the cost, a commercial drone pilot can operate a radio controlled drone to take aerial photographs, trace power and oil lines, and more. Mapping roads, railway, and other infrastructure via drones can provide significant value for utility companies and governments.
If you have a radio controlled drone and the appropriate pilot’s license, there’s a growing number of work opportunities in the field of surveying. Mapping is one of the most common. As more and more engineering and equipment runs off GPS and GIS, having accurate maps is essential. Mapping drones fly routes between control points guided by software in order to fix the ground location of different features. Similar mapping work is also done by surveyors to establish property lines for land and locations of buildings.
Using radio controlled drones gives companies the unique ability to perform volumetric calculations, such as the volume of a stockpile at a mining site. A drone not only can take a picture of the top of the pile, it can also fly around and up and down. That means it can take pictures and measurements of the pile and create a three dimensional model that can be used to calculate volume.
For more advanced work, flying drones equipped with LIDAR allows capture of details necessary to create precise digital replicas of buildings and grounds. This technology uses lasers to create a virtual model of an area. LIDAR is a heavier technology than cameras, requiring a larger multi-copter professional grade drone to operate, but is still significantly cheaper than truck or small aircraft based systems. LIDAR is useful for surveying areas where traditional photography isn’t ideal due to shadows, low contrast, or featureless surfaces.
If you enjoy flying radio controlled drones and are interested in technology, look at taking your hobby professional by becoming an FAA certified drone pilot. Numerous new opportunities are available to you to fly drones for a living to help map roads, locate pipeline spills, and explore the world.
Image via Avia Solutions Group