From Estimates to Exact Numbers- a New Benchmark for Asset Surveying

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From Estimates to Exact Numbers- a New Benchmark for Asset Surveying

To understand the value of a parcel of land and its contents, you would need to have a surveyor conduct a land asset survey. An asset survey gives an accurate depiction of the land’s condition, elevations, and temporary and permanent features, both natural and human-made. Previously, only estimates were feasible on large scale projects. Now with the help of drones, exact figures can be procured.
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Traditionally, the data was collected using GPS equipment and terrestrial survey equipment (total stations). The surveyor would move about the site collecting data from various locations. Although inefficient, this method is satisfactory when just gathering information about the elevation and more prominent features, but what if you wanted exact numbers? Take, for instance; you wanted to know exactly how many trees, or bushes or plants along with their size in a plot of land.

Determining exact numbers becomes a tall order to fulfil using traditional methods, especially when dealing with large-scale projects. Satellite Imagery would be inadequate to derive exact numbers from as they lack the resolution; this leaves surveyors to manually conduct the survey. Surveyors would have to take a sample set of data and calculate estimates of each plot’s contents.

Utilising drones to conduct asset surveys makes the whole process quick and efficient. Not only just faster, but the data gathered by drones are precise enough to capture and assess every human-made and natural feature accurately.

Conducting these surveys using drones opens up a whole host of new possibilities. The survey is completed at a quicker turnaround time than ever before. The ROI return is massive in terms of time & manpower reduced, especially in large-scale projects. The accurate and dense point clouds obtained from drone data can generate DSMs (Digital Surface Models) and create accurate 3D reality captures.

Asset surveys have a multitude of practical applications; They ensure that the land features are suitable for the intended purpose. They enable stakeholders to visualise the site and, most importantly, avoid costly mistakes from happening later on with accurate data. Drones can enable you with much better and more accurate data procured quicker and at a lower cost point.

Over 600 Plots Surveyed in 1 Month

CBRE, a leading full service commercial real estate and investment organisation in the UAE, needed highly accurate Asset Surveys- over 600 plots and their contents needed to be surveyed. This diverse mixed-use land portfolio consisting mainly of agricultural and development plots makes it a challenge to conduct traditional surveys, especially given the large number of plots and remote location. The resulting report would give insight into this diverse land portfolio- accurately representing the current state of each plot, its future potential and its market value.
Each drone was flown roughly five hours a day; the Mavic 2 Pro would capture 1,200 photos per day and the eBee X - 4,000. With the power of drones, the FEDS team covered an average of 28 plots per day.

The FEDS team dispatched two skilled drone operators equipped with senseFly’s eBee X & DJI’s Mavic 2 Pro. The eBee X would conduct high altitude flights mapping entire plots. At the same time, the Mavic 2 Pro’s powerful camera would be used to capture low altitude oblique images and videos to record precise details.

Using conventional methods, a surveyor would walk from plot to plot manually recording sample data. This sample data would then be extrapolated to generate reports. For the time spent, the resulting figures would only be estimates. The major shortcoming of traditional asset surveying is the inability to produce highly detailed and accurate reports.


In particular, this area was very close to the country’s border, limiting the drone’s operational space. The FEDS team meticulously crafted flight plans to ensure complete compliance without sacrificing data quality. Each drone was flown roughly five hours a day; the Mavic 2 Pro would capture 1,200 photos per day and the eBee X - 4,000. With the power of drones, the FEDS team covered an average of 28 plots per day.

Executing the flight and capturing the images and videos is just one step of the process. An equally important step is analysing and processing the data. Given how expansive the data was, we used our DT3 (Drone Tech, Data Tech, Digital Transformation) approach and integrated Machine Learning into the mix. Using Machine Learning, the team processed and analysed the captured data to create extremely accurate asset survey reports of each plot.

Generating reports with hard data would be impossible to do without drones. The traditional method would not be feasible to count every tree, water features, and structures manually. Instead, the surveyors would estimate the total contents of each plot. It would be more expensive, less efficient and time-consuming to get data that wouldn’t provide a valuation with pinpoint accuracy.

Drone powered Asset Surveys can give you the data you need down to the last tree. Its detail count is unmatched, enabling you to create highly accurate reports quickly and efficiently. Drone data can also be integrated into any Cloud Infrastructure, enabling you to collaborate seamlessly and work remotely. The ability to efficiently and effectively deliver reports will increase the standard of asset survey reports. Using drones, a new benchmark for Asset Surveys was set.

FEDS can provide insight at every stage of the survey, helping you understand the kind of survey you need and the type of data that can enable your operations to prosper. Get in touch with us now to arrange a free consultation to find out how drones can benefit your business.

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Niiveth Mani
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