How Surveyors Can Get Data from Those “Hard to Reach” Locations

Aerial Data CollectionIn the past, rough terrain was one of the biggest obstacles for oil and gas companies that needed an area surveyed. This issue would come up frequently, as pipelines often covered long distances and crossed over remote and difficult terrain. Because of this, waiting for land surveyors to gather data for the entire proposed pipeline route was often one of the most time-consuming and frustrating aspects of the entire project.

Fortunately, things have changed in recent years: new technologies have been developed that allow land surveys to be completed quickly, even when the survey involves gathering data from locations that are difficult to reach. In addition to speeding up pipeline development projects significantly, these new technologies can also save money for oil and companies by cutting down on the total number of hours that land surveyors need to work, and also contribute to a safer pipeline development project, by removing the need for land surveyors to put themselves in harm’s way by crossing difficult terrain.

As is the case with most new technologies, the land surveying technologies in question are only beneficial to those who take the time to learn what they’re all about and how they’re used. In this post, we’ll cover a couple of the land surveying technologies that are completely revolutionizing pipeline development, and help you get a jump start on making the most of them.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, can offer a number of clear benefits when it comes to collecting land surveying data in difficult terrain. These UAVs are able to fly over difficult terrain and cover large distances faster than earthbound land surveyors ever could.

While the idea of using aerial data collection to speed up the land surveying process is certainly not a new one, UAVs represent a completely new take on the concept. Manned airplanes aren’t able to get as close to the ground as UAVs can, and are also unable to move with the level of pinpoint accuracy and control that UAVs can. Of course, there’s also the fact that putting land surveyors in airplanes can be just as dangerous as asking them to cover difficult terrain on land. The only land surveying method that can promise complete safety is the one that doesn’t require the land surveyors to enter the field in the first place.

In addition, today’s high-definition cameras have developed to the point where using them on UAVs is practical. As a result, UAVs are able to quickly relay extremely detailed and accurate images back to surveyors in an office setting, where they can begin to use those images to complete their work.

Laser Scanning (LiDAR)

Laser scanning technology, also known as LiDAR, can be used to support terrestrial or aerial data collection by creating extremely detailed scans of the terrain as it actually exists. By using LiDAR, fewer on-the-ground scans are needed, resulting in less time spend trying to traverse difficult terrain.

LiDAR works by setting up a scanner that bounces thousands of laser points off of a particular building or terrain. The scanner then measures the flight path of those laser points as they return, and combines those points into a data cloud that can used to create a detailed representation of the thing that’s being scanned. This technology can be used to create scans that are accurate to within four millimeters, a level of accuracy that traditional land surveying technologies simply can’t match.

At Landpoint, we have a team of experienced professional land surveyors that can help you put these new technologies to work on your pipeline development project. Look over some examples of our recent pipeline development projects to learn more, or contact us today to get started.

Image Source: Richard Unten