Mapping & Surveying

“Drones are being used more frequently by surveyors and engineers for terrain assessments and mapping.”

Mapping Use Cases

There are many areas where drones are being used in mapping and surveying, few of them are bellow:

Topography
Site Development
Alta-surveys

UAV Scope

“Benefits of Using Drones for Mapping and Surveying

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Reduce Project Time

For centuries, surveyors were tasked with walking to cover the land they surveyed. This could be very demanding and time consuming to say the least. Just imagine walking a 200-acre piece of land to find the property corners in order to determine the topography of the land, not to mention having to deal with the vegetation that may exist on the property. Today, surveyors and engineering firms can use a drone to assist in these tasks.

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Increase Data Accuracy

Light Detection and Ranging, or what is referred to as LiDAR can be utilized in areas containing dense vegetation. Originally developed in the 1960’s, LiDAR systems were too large and expensive for drone use, however new technology now allows placement on some larger drones. LiDAR drones facilitate land surveying in challenging environments where field crews were previously needed. LiDAR can also be used to measure power lines for sag, which is very difficult and time consuming by any other method.

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Return on Investment

Drones have become a viable solution for the surveying and mapping industry for two primary reasons:

1.The development of lighter and more efficient batteries that in turn increase the flight times of the aircraft. This increase in endurance allows operators to cover enough area to make it worth flying the missions.
2.The development of high-resolution cameras light enough for drone placement, allowing the accuracy needed to use them for this application.

Inspection Process

The main difficulty in the inspection process was lack of automation scalability and repeatability

Track Inspection
Componentry Inspection
Switch Level Inspection
Accident Study

Use Cases for  Railway Drones

“Lets explore how even a basic consumer level drone can provide actionable data”

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Basic Track Componentry Inspection

  • Track Ballast
  • Rail Sleeper (railroad ties, railway ties or crossties)
  • Rail Fish Plate (fish bolt, rail joint bar, splice bar)
  • Rail Fasteners,
  • Joints
  • Straight and Curved Switches
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Complex Componentry Inspection

  • Points (Points Blades)
  • Frog (Common Crossing)
  • Guard Rail (Check Rail)
  • Switch Motor
  • Points Lever
  • Point Machine Conversion
  • Facing Point Lock
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Switch Level Inspection

  • Slip Switches (Double Slip, Single Slip, Outside Slip)
  • Crossover
  • Stub Switch
  • Plate Switch
  • Three-way Switch
  • Off-railer

drones for railway inspections has numerous benefits that can quickly become cost multipliers for any organization.The ability of flying drones over railways is also a savings to the overall effort in terms of time.Drones for railways can also provide high-resolution data in a very timely manner.

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Safety

Utilizing drones for railway inspections has numerous benefits that can quickly become cost multipliers for any organization. One of the most important benefits realized is safety. Because trains are scheduled daily along most railways, placing a human on the track in a specially equipped vehicle can be as dangerous as playing Russian Roulette. The precautions necessary to ensure safety can be mitigated by using drones.

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Time Savings

The ability of flying drones over railways is also a savings to the overall effort in terms of time, as the drone can collect more than one railway at once, performing the task fully autonomously without human intervention. And as the drone ascends to higher altitudes, multiple tracks (up to three or four at a time) can be easily collected simultaneously. This scenario creates a portable, repeatable, and efficient method for data collection.

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High-resolution Data

Drones for railways can also provide high-resolution data in a very timely manner. Once the drone data is modeled, other techniques can be applied to detect anomalies using change detection or in some cases even artificial intelligence. The end-product using these collection parameters produces a fully modeled (3D) product that maintains a GSD (Ground Sample Distance) of 2.13 mm (0.007 ft) with a relative accuracy of around 4mm .

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