Why Accurate Geospatial Data is Critical to Solar Farm Development

Geospatial data, including GIS, can be used throughout a solar farm development — to better analyze and simulate terrain, to identify potential issues with an on-going development, and to analyze and optimize performance. As geospatial data (and drone technology) become more advanced, it can provide more robust surveys and scanning, and more complex features.

Here are some reasons why geospatial data is critical to solar farm development today.

Collecting Data Before Development

Geospatial data can be used to survey ground before development, to properly identify boundary lines, and to find the areas that will need modifications to elevation and other adjustments. The more data that’s collected before development, the easier it will be for the development to engage in preparation and planning — and that includes estimating budgets and deadlines.

Reducing Setbacks and Reworks

Geospatial data allows for complex simulations of solar farms before ground is broken. During development, data can be used to identify the best potential layouts, given the different levels of sunshine throughout the year. Having simulations reduces the chances of future setbacks and reworks, by identifying potential issues before they become problems.

Ask any construction company, and they’ll tell you: The initial project usually doesn’t make up the bulk of the cost. Setbacks and reworks are a significant amount of the budget for a construction, simply because they require that everything be reset and redone. That also pushes deadlines back considerably, in addition to increasing budgets.

Identifying Maintenance and Repair Issues

With mobile GIS technology, solar farms can be surveyed on a regular basis to determine whether there are any maintenance issues or repair issues that need to be addressed. Without aerial surveys, solar farms require manual surveys. These surveys may not be able to pick up on maintenance or repair issues quickly, and can consequently lead to costly (and sometimes dangerous) repairs that need to be made.

Solar panels, for instance, can overload if they get blocked up. If something falls on a solar panel and blocks the sunlight out, the panel itself needs to work harder to compensate. Drones can identify these types of problems before they lead to permanent damage, and maintenance personnel will know exactly where to go to fix the problem.

Optimizing and Analyzing Efficiency

Through geospatial data, solar farms can analyze where the sun falls, where the best production is, and how the solar farm is functioning in general. This data can be used to further optimize and analyze the solar farm’s efficiency. Solar farm efficiency is everything: The more efficient and productive the solar farm is, the more successful it is.

As solar farms become more competitive, it becomes more important to boost this efficiency with technology. In coming years, we will likely find out new things about how to optimize solar farms, and how to improve upon their yield.

Avoiding Unexpected Roadblocks

Solar farms are made across large swathes of land, often rural. It’s not always easy to identify potential problems, such as the terrain around the farm, or developments next to the farm. Geospatial data can alert developers to potential environmental issues or building-related issues around the solar farm, before they become problems.

A solar farm might need to model a development happening right next to it, and how it could impact any solar panels in that area. Solar farms might also need to model the weather, and determine how efficient their solar farm will be, to make sure that the farm is sized correctly to the desired yield.

Drones have drastically changed the collection of geospatial data, and in so doing, they’ve changed the way that solar farms can be developed. From the inception of a project to its continued maintenance, geospatial data and GIS data can be used to develop, support, maintain, manage, and optimize solar farms. 

If you want to learn more about building a solar farm, connect with us at Landpoint.


How Building Information Modeling Can Help Preserve Historic Locations

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a way to take, analyze, and store complex information regarding physical architecture. BIM is frequently used to simulate new developments, but it can also be used in the restoration of historic sites.

When historic sites are damaged, or simply falling apart due to age, scans and data can be taken for the next part of the restoration process. Here are a few of the ways in which Building Information Modeling can be used to the advantage of historic preservation.

Acquire Extraordinarily Accurate Building Data

Through highly accurate, LiDAR scanning, high resolution BIM information can be taken and stored. With this data, developers, architects, and historians will be able to identify areas in which they can restore and preserve historic locations. Using simulations, different options can be modeled. From there, it’s possible to identify the solutions that will be best suited for the project.

And it isn’t just preservation information that can be simulated. Continued wear on the historic location can also be simulated, so that developers know which areas need to be protected the most. Developers will even be able to see how the historic location might be influenced by other developments in the area, and consequently plan ahead. 

When LiDAR scanning is used alongside photogrammetric imaging, even the texture and color of the buildings can be preserved. This can help with restoration attempts in the future. More data is always better; some restoration processes that aren’t available today could still be available in the future.

Get Information Without Physical Disruption

Physically walking through a historic location can cause damage to it, if even only slightly. But when drone technology is used to capture BIM, developers are able to work on the project without having physical access to it. This is critical. Otherwise, restoration might not be done properly because collecting information can’t be risked. 

Scanning with laser technologies, on the other hand, gives the developer as much information as they need while still preserving the structural integrity of the site — and that means they have the ability to do significantly more accurate planning. 

In the past, scanning from planes and helicopters would be the only option. But there’s a downside to this: scans from planes and helicopters are lower resolution. Planes have to fly too high, and helicopters can’t be flown with the same precision as a drone. And neither one can get inside a building!

Avoid Putting Physical Surveyors in Danger

Why is building information modeling important? It’s not just because it’s best for the buildings themselves; it’s also best for the people involved. Taking information through LiDAR and aerial scanning means that physical surveyors don’t need to put themselves in danger. Not only can a historic building be dangerous due to damage, but it can also be in a dangerous or in an inaccessible location.

With BIM, data can be taken before people need to physically step foot on site. BIM can be used to identify areas that are potentially dangerous before anyone needs to start work, and these areas can be marked clearly to be avoided.

Preserving Buildings in Simulations

Even if buildings themselves cannot be preserved, their data will live on forever. While the building may be able to be preserved and restored today, the buildings may fall in a hundred years, or even a thousand years. But the data that is taken regarding the building has the potential to be preserved forever.

Today, we have the technology available to rescue historic locations — and drones are an essential part of that process. With drone technology, exceptionally accurate building information modeling data can be saved, and in the future, that information can be used to restore everything to its original condition.

And, even if buildings are in good condition today, and not yet falling into disrepair, it’s a good idea to keep their information for the future. It’s possible that environmental changes could challenge these buildings in the future, or unexpected disasters such as earthquakes could strike. Buildings that have historic significance but are not currently undergoing restoration efforts are good candidates for this type of digital preservation.

Anyone who wants to preserve a building, whether historic or not, should consider the advantages of Building Information Modeling


Old MacDonald Had a Drone: How Land Surveyors and Agriculture Drones can Help Farmers

Agricultural drone technology is booming. As drones become more advanced — with longer flight times and better sensors, to start — they also become more useful to the agricultural industry.

Drones can be used for a multitude of applications on a farm, from initial planning to continued maintenance. And even better, farms don’t need to purchase drone technology to use it. Farmers can use drone technology services for many of these benefits, thereby creating a more cost-effective solution for otherwise time-consuming and expensive tasks.

Wondering how to use drones in agriculture? Here are a few of the most useful examples.

Measuring Crop Distribution: Improve the Productivity of Your Farm

Crop distribution is easier through aerial surveying. With aerial surveying, a farmer can easily scan their entire farm, to measure and analyze metrics such as crop distribution. Drones are able to measure crop distribution faster and more efficiently than other, more traditional methods.

Through better analysis, you can formulate plans for more efficient farming in the future. The more data you have, the more confident you can be.

Farm Planning: Simulate Your Planting and Irrigation

Through surveying, farmers are able to plan their planting and irrigation ahead of time. Surveys can be used to simulate a development before ground is broken, which is especially important in farming, where profit margins can be tight. Farmers can even simulate light and weather effects, to determine whether their irrigation is going to be efficient, and to determine whether the crops are placed correctly.

During the very initial phases of a development, surveys can also be used for land elevation. By using surveys for land elevation, farmers can identify the most cost-effective ways to pre-level their development.

Seed Planting: Plant Faster and More Reliably

Seed planting can be time-consuming using traditional methods. Drones can be used to plant more effectively, as drones can spread seed close to the ground, with high-precision coverage. This leads to less waste, and more productivity throughout the year. The larger the farm is, the more useful drones are for seed planting and seed delivery. 

Crop Spraying: Protect Crops Faster and More Efficiently

Just a decade ago, crop spraying via drone wouldn’t have been possible. But today’s drones can carry heavier loads and carry them for longer. Through drones, farmers are able to ensure that their crops are sprayed consistently and quickly, without the need for expensive equipment or manual labor. 

Drone spraying is a fraction of the cost of crop dusting, and it’s still more effective than other methods of spraying, such as spraying directly from a vehicle. For farmers who want to save money during their crop maintenance or target only dying crops, drone crop spraying is the easy choice.

Livestock Tracking: Use Heat Signatures to Track Your Livestock

Drones can even be used to track livestock. Using heat signatures, drones can be used to identify where livestock are, ensuring that livestock are where they should be and that no livestock has gone missing. Over large territory, drones can be used to find livestock quickly. This is especially useful for large farms through which livestock may roam far. You can respond to straying livestock much faster than you otherwise could, thereby ensuring that your livestock remains safe and healthy.

This isn’t all. There are many ways drone technology can be used to augment traditional farming processes. Drones can be used any time it’s important to complete scans from a planimetric view, and they can be used in conjunction with sensors and other advanced technology.

Are you wondering how drones could help your farm? Take an in-depth look at how drone surveying can help with agriculture and forestry. An agriculture drone can save you time and money—you just need a solid drone partner.

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