Why Now is the Time to Invest in UAVs for Surveying and Mapping

Drone use is becoming common on earthworks, civil construction, mining, and waste management sites around the world and for good reason—they’re creating efficiencies that traditional survey methods find difficult to match. Drone mapping software is changing the landscape of businesses worldwide for the better, helping teams make better decisions to keep projects on time and on budget while promoting greater safety and sustainability on the jobsite.

So, why is now the right time to invest in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and an all-in-one drone data processing platform like Propeller Aero? Read on to discover how investing in drone survey technology is a sensible strategy with a proven ROI.


One of the reasons why many mining, aggregates, waste management and construction companies hesitate to adopt a drone surveying program is that they’re unsure of the cost. Today, drone technology is more accessible and affordable than ever. Not only are plenty of economically-priced, RTK-enabled drones available on the market, but also drone data processing solutions, like Propeller Aero that turn data collected in-flight into useful 3D maps and renderings.

Drone surveys are quicker and more affordable than traditional surveys, which means you can survey more frequently for up-to-date views of conditions on your site. Some Propeller customers, including Grade Tech, have estimated that each drone survey results in a savings of more than $3,500 in terms of time saved and rework reduction.


Accurate survey data is crucially important whether you’re in the earthworks, mining, aggregates, or waste management industry. Not only have drones made frequent jobsite surveys faster and more affordable, but they’ve also made them more accurate.

By using a PPK workflow consisting of flying an RTK-enabled drone with in-flight data corrected by Propeller’s ground control points, survey teams can achieve incredible accuracy—down to 1/10th of one foot. Properly placed ground control points, or AeroPoints, reconcile any errors made in-flight by the drone. In many cases, Propeller’s streamlined workflow allows you to use only one AeroPoint to verify your data.


Drones are becoming more and more practical on jobs around the world, combining speed and accuracy to create a plug-and-play flight experience. No longer do earthworks, mining, or waste management teams need to hire professional surveyors when they require an up-to-date look at conditions on the ground. Now, drones are so user-friendly that if you have a Part 107 license, you can fly a site easily and safely.

All it takes is a commercial-grade drone to capture data from the skies and Propeller’s ground control points to verify and, if necessary, correct the drone data collected in flight. Commercial-grade drones work reliably every time, and even a newer drone pilot can collect accurate, actionable survey data that industry professionals can use to make better decisions, keep projects on track, and promote safety and sustainability on the jobsite


Mining and construction can be dangerous industries for workers. Increasingly, employees want to work for companies that promote safety on the jobsite—and companies are paying attention to this.

Drone surveys eliminate the need for survey crews to physically traverse potentially hazardous construction sites, mines, quarries, or landfills. Drone data also promotes worker safety in day-to-day jobsite operations. In mining, for example, drone data helps teams measure haul roads, ensuring they conform to acceptable safety standards. In earthworks, renderings created using drone data allow teams to spot potential safety hazards, such as debris, clutter and damage.


Today, stakeholders, employees, and the public want to support companies who adopt sustainable practices in their day-to-day operations. Drone surveys make day-to-day operations on the jobsite more efficient. What are some of the specific ways drone surveys—processed in the Propeller Platform—are making worksites around the world more sustainable?

  • Earthworks. Drone surveys are improving sustainability on earthworks and construction sites by providing frequent progress tracking that reduces rework and material waste, and also by enhancing efficiency in site prep, giving clear direction for earthmoving equipment that significantly reduces carbon emissions.
  • Mining. Frequent drone surveys are helping mining teams identify no-go environmental zones and enable better water management, controlling soil erosion. Surveys also reduce fuel burn by ensuring haul roads are not just safe for workers, but that they’re also built as efficiently as possible.
  • Waste management. Drone surveys are helping waste management teams make their operations more sustainable by protecting environmental locations surrounding landfills. By taking to the skies by drone, companies can ensure their landfills aren’t polluting regions. Drone data also helps waste management reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions by teams allowing site managers to keep track of landfill capacity. They can direct machines to exactly where they need to go, rather than wasting time and fuel traveling unnecessarily around the jobsite.

Create efficiencies with drone mapping software today

Drones are true drivers of efficiency on a variety of jobsites, from mines to civil construction projects, waste management sites to quarries. In many cases, investing in a drone and an all-in-one drone data processing platform can pay for itself quickly. Whether you’re actively looking to make your worksite safer and more sustainable, or you want to improve communication and keep every project running smoothly, drone survey data offers a single source of truth and exceptional accuracy that’s valuable during every stage of a project.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo