Utilizing Drones in Surveying – Topographic Design Surveys

Feb 22, 2023

Drones are rapidly becoming an integral tool in surveying and mapping, revolutionizing the way topographic and design surveys are conducted. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) offer various benefits, including increased speed, safety, efficiency, and cost savings.

In this article, we will examine the various ways in which drones are changing the surveying industry.


Drones, or UAVs, are aircraft that are operated remotely or autonomously. Drones are used in surveying to gather detailed aerial photos and remote sensing or LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data that may be utilized for photogrammetry, orthomosaic photos, and for creating point clouds of bare earth and significant features.

Using drones for surveying has many benefits, one of which is their capacity to efficiently cover vast regions. Traditional surveying techniques require ground-based personnel and equipment, which can be labor and time intensive. In contrast, drones can complete projects in less time and can visit places that are challenging for people to access.

How Drones Can Be Used in Surveys

Drones may be utilized in topographic and design surveys in the following ways:

  • Inspections: Hard-to-reach sites can be inspected using drones. This can assure the safety of employees and save time and costs.
  • Imagery: High-resolution aerial imagery taken by drones can be utilized for many reasons such as seeing changes in the land over time or creating georeferenced aerial images for the design team to reference in their GIS or CAD systems.
  • Elevation data: Using specialized LiDAR sensors aboard drones, it is possible to gather dense point clouds of the property and by post-processing the data in specialized software the surveyor can classify the points to utilize in a 3D model of the site.

Future of Drones in Surveying

The use of drones in surveying is expected to continue to grow and evolve in the coming years. As drone technology continues to improve, drones will likely be used for an even wider range of applications.

In addition, the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is expected to play a more significant role in the processing and analysis of data collected by drones, which could result in the automatization of tasks.


In conclusion, drones have become an increasingly important tool for topographic and design surveys, offering a range of benefits, including increased speed, efficiency, and cost savings.


What are the advantages of using drones for surveying?

Some advantages of using drones for surveying include increased precision, increased speed and efficiency, cost savings, safety benefits, and environmental benefits.

How do drones work in surveying?

Drones work in surveying by capturing high-resolution aerial imagery and 3D point cloud data that can be used to create accurate maps and 3D models of a tract of land.


Summit Geomatics, Inc. is a professional land surveying firm headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. Summit Geomatics, Inc. is a small business created to serve Central and South Texas by providing quality land surveying to our clientele.


We are here to serve your project’s specific needs from rush real estate closings to GIS mapping solutions. Our experience and unique skill set allows us to serve you by providing geospatial solutions tailor made for your needs.