Over the last 5 years Iprosurv have been droning on about drones to various industries, insurance companies, loss adjusters and facilities management to name but a few. We can honestly say it has been a long hard road, there have been ups and downs, good times and bad times but we kept on going and going and going. In 2016 we recruited our first major client and continued to try and educate the market on the advantages of drone technology and the different outputs, So it was a great moment when in the Iprosurv inbox arrived a document “RICS insight paper” named “Drones: applications and compliance for surveyors” author Peter Kinghan MRICS. Reading this document, it became very apparent their had been a shift change in the thinking within the surveying market. Below are some excerpts from the article, the full article can be accessed here
Drones have a long history, but it is only relatively recently that their commercial potential has been recognised offering significant benefits and opportunities to businesses around the world.
UAVs have evolved beyond the ‘hype’ and are now starting to become operationally viable on an expanding commercial basis. Of course, UAVs are not just for surveyor use and can be used by numerous other professions and sectors, but we are part of a broad church and believe that this insight paper provides an opportunity to understand and appreciate the potential benefits of UAV use.
The development of disruptive technologies has changed the way we live and work throughout history: the steam engine, the automobile, the personal computer, more recently the smartphone – and now the drone.
Many industries have warmed to the potential that drones can bring. This is because these smaller aircraft platforms, operating at lower altitudes than satellites and manned aircraft, result in the democratisation of data and overcome the hurdles, such as cloud cover, faced by these more traditional platforms.
Despite fast-moving developments, drones are still in their infancy. As the technology develops the regulatory system is playing ‘catch-up’ and governments are grappling to regulate the practitioners, manufacturers and systems within the industry. There is also the ever-increasing need for simplicity as the different standardisation bodies become involved to ensure the technology is fit for purpose and will integrate seamlessly into daily life.
Unlike satellites drones are not, typically, on a fixed orbit and do not have the significant mobilisation requirements of manned aircraft. In addition, they have the capability for greater temporal data and far richer spatial resolution, particularly when data is required for a small area (see Figure 3). In terms of spatial coverage, satellites and manned aircraft will always have the advantage, but drones offer remote sensing that bridges the gap between the ‘boots on the ground’ and satellites or manned aircraft.
Drones are small, offer highly flexible use, are easy to handle and available at a comparatively low cost. In emergency situations, e.g. search and rescue, drones offer additional benefits in providing close to real-time information and a better understanding of the dynamics of the environment. Also, the lower costs and reduced time-frames ultimately mean improvements in site and asset management. Drone operators can also generally work around (or below) the weather restrictions, such as clouds, that limit other remote-sensing platforms.
As the industry continues to grow the ‘drones for good’ story needs to be highlighted to the public to ensure full appreciation of the benefits – not just to the surveying profession, but to society as a whole. Public buy-in will be essential if the drone industry is to reach its full potential. There is, however, an onus on commercial drone operators to act responsibly and ensure compliance with all regulations.
This insight paper also includes in-depth sections on:
- a rapidly evolving national and international drone industry
- opportunities and challenges for drone users
- drone platforms and, even more importantly for surveyors, sensors (from optical to hyperspectral)
- case studies
- current and emerging regulatory and compliance issues, including national and international legislation and developing standards
- factors to consider ahead of incorporating this cutting-edge technology into your business
The full paper “Drone applications and compliance for surveyors” can be ccessed here.
Acknowledgments to: Author Peter Kinghan MRICS Professional Group Lead James Kavanagh FRICS Publishing team Project manager: Ellie Scott Editor: Katie Pattullo