Is it Time to Switch to a New Pipeline Surveyor?

Far too many project leaders have come to look at the land surveying process as a necessary evil: something they have to rush through as quickly as possible so that they can get started on the actual construction process. While rapid turnaround is definitely a good thing, focusing on it exclusively can cause you to miss out on the real value that an effective land surveying partner can offer your project.

If your pipeline surveyor is just going through the motions, then it may be time for you to replace them with a company that can get you better results. Read on to learn a few factors you should take into consideration when you’re thinking of replacing your pipeline surveyor.

Does your surveyor use the latest technology?

Like every other industry out there, pipeline surveying is in a state of disruption and reinvention, driven primarily by groundbreaking new technologies. In order to overcome the modern challenges facing them—including increasingly crowded pipeline rights of way—project leaders need to look to modern solutions. Simply put, the traditional surveying methods that have been in use for so long now are no longer enough to get the job done.

Find out if your pipeline surveyor is taking full advantage of things like drones, cloud data storage, laser scanning, and 3D modeling. When used properly, these new technologies can drive tremendous value throughout your project lifecycle.

Can your surveyor turn data around quickly?

At the top of this post, we stressed that speed of turnaround is not the only factor you should use to judge a surveyor. That being said, if a company is doing other things right, a faster turnaround may occur naturally.

For instance, a company taking advantage of drone technology to capture survey data will be able to cover long distances quickly. If the surveyor has the infrastructure in place in order to easily process raw survey data, then the survey results can often be ready for the customer in less than 24 hours—much faster than a company could turn data around using traditional surveying methods. When you use drones, you don’t have to sacrifice survey quality to get rapid turnaround.

Does your surveyor provide detailed, accurate results?

The data that a pipeline surveyor captures at the beginning of a project will be used to make decisions throughout the project lifecycle. That’s why it’s important that the surveyor capture as much relevant data as possible, to give project stakeholders the best chance to make informed decisions. When project leaders make decisions based on accurate assumptions, it can lead to fewer costly, time-consuming mistakes, and contribute to a more efficient, profitable project overall.

Once again, applying new technologies such as drones can help a surveyor achieve this goal. With the help of increasingly affordable high-definition cameras and laser scanners, drones can capture the high volumes of data that modern projects demand.

Is your pipeline surveyor able to ramp up for large projects quickly?

When it comes to selecting a surveying partner for your pipeline, size does matter. That’s because pipeline projects typically span hundreds of miles, a fact that places a significant burden on the surveyor.

Not only do they have to capture large volumes of data in a relatively short period of time, but they also have to be able to transfer, process and store that data. It’s important to work with a surveyor that understands this challenge and has experience overcoming it. If your surveyor is mainly accustomed to smaller projects, then they may not be the best option to work on your pipeline.

Final Thoughts

If your surveyor isn’t prepared to support you, then it might be helpful to consider another option. Contact Landpoint today to learn more about how we can help you.


Solar Land Surveying: Why it Pays to Get 3D Models

With interest in renewable energy technologies at an all-time high, it’s no surprise to see an explosion of new companies getting involved with solar energy projects. If you represent one of those new companies, then you may be unsure about the best way to get started with your project.

Like any other major construction project, a solar energy installation requires an initial land survey to gather the data needed to create an informed project plan. Taking advantage of the latest surveying technologies can help ensure that you get the kind of high-quality survey results you need to get the best ROI from your solar farm. Read on to learn more about solar land surveying and why 3D models based on laser scanning data can be so beneficial.

Using Drones for Solar Land Surveying

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones, are an exciting new technology that’s redefining what’s possible when it comes to solar land surveying. Aerial data collection can cover large areas more quickly than traditional surveying methods, ensuring a rapid turnaround of survey results.

Today’s drones can be equipped with increasingly affordable data capturing devices, such as 3D laser scanners, which use LiDAR technology. LiDAR works by emitting millions of laser points from the scanner toward the land that is being surveyed. After the laser points bounce off the terrain being scanned, the scanner will track their flight path on the way back. The results of all the laser point flight paths will be aggregated into a single point cloud, which in turn can be used to show an extremely accurate representation of the land being surveyed. This data can then be used to create precise 3D models of the land in question.

Creating 3D Topographical Models Based on Laser Scans

Success with solar energy projects depends heavily on preparing the site and positioning the solar collectors in a manner that allows those collectors to be as efficient as possible when collecting solar rays. Solar project leaders must consider a variety of different factors when planning their installation, from the elevation of the land they build on, to the angles at which the solar collectors are positioned.

Having a 3D model of an area based on extremely accurate laser scans can certainly help these project leaders make more informed decisions. Instead of having to make educated guesses about what’s best for their project, they can use their models to perform detailed simulations and see for themselves what the best plan of action would be moving forward. This helps them save time and money by knowing what they should do in advance, rather than having to rely on trial and error.

Use Model Data to Automate Solar Site Prep

Finally, using 3D models for solar energy projects can continue to pay dividends even after the actual project work begins. Today’s site grading machines have the ability to feed topographical data directly to the machine itself. This allows the grading machine to conduct automated site prep work based on the exact conditions in will face in the field. This removes the potential for error that always exists with any human machine operator and ensures that the grading process will happen quickly, with no need for rework.

By conducting site prep work based on detailed, accurate models, a project leader can feel confident that their new job site will be graded in a manner that will support the best solar project results possible.

Need Solar Land Surveying?

If you’re still feeling unsure about how to get started with your solar energy project, the experts at Landpoint are here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

Why Land Survey Companies Are Moving to the Cloud

The exponential growth of data is disrupting many different industries, and land surveying is no exception. Land survey companies are finding themselves handling more data than ever before.

On the one hand, this fact allows them to provide their clients with more complete, accurate survey results, which in turn can help the clients make more informed decisions regarding their projects. On the other hand, handling this influx of new data using traditional data management technologies may not always be possible, and companies that aren’t properly prepared may find themselves completely overwhelmed. Fortunately, new developments in cloud computing are empowering land survey companies to adjust to this new reality and use data to its fullest potential and provide project managers with a simpler, more cost-effective alternative.

Read on for a closer look at how moving to the cloud is redefining what companies can do with land survey data.

Flexible, Scalable Data Storage

Today’s land survey companies have to store survey results for thousands of different projects, with some of that data stretching back hundreds of years. As time goes on, each new project the company takes on will likely be more data intensive than the last one, especially with the amount of data that new technologies like drones generate.

Storing all of this data in a traditional on-premises data center would be impractical. Every time the company outgrows their existing data storage capacity, they would have to manually add new capacity to their data center, causing great expense and inconvenience.

By adopting a cloud-based infrastructure, the land surveying company can simply scale up its storage capacity whenever they need to, and the CSP will handle it behind the scenes. The result is that the land survey company will never have to run out of capacity. In addition, they’ll also free themselves up to spend less time worrying about their storage infrastructure, and more time thinking about the work that actually matters for their business.

Make Data Available Across Geographic Locations

Today’s construction project work is more distributed than ever before. Keeping everybody on the same page—whether they’re in the main office or out on the job site—is a key factor in ensuring the project goes according to plan.

As survey document files become more data intensive, and thus larger, sending them from person to person becomes time consuming and inefficient. With cloud data storage, users can simply pull the latest copy of a document from a centralized location. The cloud server can be accessed using any device. This includes mobile devices, so any worker in the field will have the same ability to access the documents they need as their counterparts back at the office.

Easily Share Data With Customers

At the end of the day, the land survey company’s whole reason for collecting data is to make it available for customers to use, and cloud data storage platforms like Landpoint’s True Atlas helps in this regard as well. Land survey companies that take advantage of cloud data storage can provide an added level of value for their customers.

Instead of simply dumping the processed data into their customer’s lap and then leaving them to figure out how to store, manage and apply it, a cloud-enabled land surveyor can store the data themselves, giving their customers with one less thing to worry about. In addition, the cloud can provide security and access control, ensuring that the right people—and only the right people—have access to the data when and where they need it.

Final Thoughts

Cloud technology is making it easier than ever for land survey companies to manage data. In an era that’s increasingly defined by data growth, shouldn’t you work with a land surveying partner that’s equipped to handle that growth with the latest technology? Contact Landpoint today to learn more about our innovative approach to cloud data management.


A Brief History of Drone Data Collection

With drone technology becoming increasingly affordable, it’s no surprise to see more people using it, both for commercial and recreational purposes. We are certainly living in exciting times, as the possibilities surrounding drone use seem practically endless. However, while it may seem like drones popped into the popular consciousness within the last five or 10 years, the current popularity of drones is built on a foundation that stretches back decades. In many ways, it’s important to understand where drone data collection comes from in order to use them to their fullest potential today.

Growing from Military Roots

The primary push behind aerial data collection originally came from the military sector, before expanding into the civilian sector. The United States military, in particular, played a leading role in funding and prioritizing drone research, and drones have been used in US military conflicts for much longer than some people might realize. Depending on how one defines the word “drone,” their use may stretch back as far as the Civil War, when both Union and Confederate armies applied unmanned hot air balloons to conduct aerial surveillance.

In 1935, the British military unveiled the DH.82 Queen Bee, a radio-controlled pilotless biplane that was used as a target drone for training anti-aircraft gunners. The Queen Bee was among the earliest examples of what we would today consider a drone. In fact, the Queen Bee is most likely the reason we call pilotless aircraft “drones.” The term originally referred to a type of worker bee, and most sources agree it was applied to aircraft as an homage to the Queen Bee.

The Rise of The Drone Hobbyist

Developing in parallel to military drone technology was a thriving base of model aviation enthusiasts. The earliest hobbyists were active for years before the creation of the FAA, during which time they operated in a legal gray area. To help fill the gap, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) was founded and began offering community-based training programs for drone pilots.

Although the AMA was originally founded explicitly to promote recreational use of drones, their actions in those early days were highly influential when the FAA eventually created drone regulations. In fact, the first federal guidelines regulating drone use were based on the AMA’s training programs. The AMA and the FAA continue to work together today to ensure the safe use of drones.

From Hobby to Serious Business

To understand the recent rise in commercial UAV usage, one must stop to consider the fact that commercial drone flights were still officially illegal according to federal guidelines as recently as the mid-2000s. Since then, a lot has changed, as federal regulators have attempted to balance the need for safe drone operations with the business world’s insatiable demand for drone data collection and all the commercial possibilities it presents. In the end, the FAA simply couldn’t continue to outlaw drones forever.

The next decade was marked by tentative steps toward loosening drone regulations, with some drone operators testing the boundaries along the way. At one point, businesses wishing to used drones had to get a Certificate of Authorization (COA), a demanding process that required the business to be sponsored by a public agency such as a university. The upshot was that larger companies had no problem getting approval, while smaller ones continued to be shut out.

Today, drone regulations continue to develop, but it’s now easier than ever to get started. Companies wishing to fly drones commercially still have to apply for permission from the FAA, but the process is now much simpler. Because of this, businesses of all sizes are now getting involved with drones.

Learn More About Drone Data Collection

While drone regulations have softened somewhat, it still helps to work with a partner that can help you navigate the process. Contact Landpoint today to get started.