Why Pipeline Survey Companies Have Been Quick to Adopt UAVs

UAV SurveyingFor pipeline survey companies, the rules of the game have changed. As pipeline right of ways have grown increasingly crowded, and land use and regulatory issues have become more of a concern, pipeline survey companies have had to start taking a new, smarter approach to their work. One way in which they can accomplish this is by adopting the latest innovative technologies. One land surveying technique that can be especially helpful to pipeline survey companies in the new environment they find themselves operating in is unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology, commonly known as drones.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at why UAVs are such a good fit for pipeline surveying and why so many companies have already begun to adopt them.

1. Cover Long Distances

The first reason that UAVs are such a good fit for pipeline surveying is the fact that pipelines tend to cover very long distances. While the speed at which UAVs complete their surveying work is an asset for any project, the benefits are multiplied for larger projects such as pipelines.

For pipelines that often cover hundreds of miles, traditional surveying methods during initial phases simply aren’t economical. The time required to complete the preliminary surveying process for speculative routes will become a bottleneck, making it take longer to finish the pipeline. UAVs move much faster than these land-based surveys and are capable of removing the bottleneck by surveying even very long pipelines in a reasonable amount of time.

2. Get Into Difficult-To-Reach Areas

Another reason that pipeline surveying is so difficult to complete using traditional surveying methods is the terrain involved. Since pipelines cover such long distances, surveyors may find themselves having to deal with mountains, deserts, swamps, and more. In addition to slowing down the progress of the surveying itself, having to cross this difficult terrain can put surveyors at risk of accident, which presents its own series of complications.

With UAVs, all of the surveying happens above the ground, which means that the surveying work can essentially proceed at the same speed no matter how hard reaching a particular area might be. In addition, surveyors are able to complete their work from a safe location, without putting themselves at risk.

3. An Efficient Way to Capture GIS Data

UAVs can be paired with a variety of different information capturing technologies, but perhaps the most beneficial one as far as pipeline surveying companies are concerned is geographic information systems (GIS).

With GIS, pipeline surveyors can gather the data they need to build detailed computer models of all the possible pipeline routes that are available to the company. After looking at their options and performing simulations, the company can make an informed decision about the ideal routing to act on. If utilized through all development stages, GIS helps ensure a profitable pipeline project with minimal interruptions or complications, and UAVs represent one of the quickest and most cost-efficient methods of gathering the GIS data.

4. Create Detailed and Accurate Surveys

When securing your pipeline right of ways, you may find yourself having to deal with many different private landowners and different political jurisdictions that each have their own unique set of regulations and requirements. In order to get the right of way you need, you need to make sure your company keeps all these different people and agencies happy. An accurate survey can get you off to a great start in this regard by helping you illustrate exactly where your pipeline lays.

By utilizing UAVs, pipeline surveying companies can gather the highly accurate data they need to create preliminary and as-built surveys using high-definition cameras and other advanced data imaging technologies.

To learn more about how UAVs can assist you in your pipeline projects, contact us at Landpoint today.