Improve Construction Site Reporting With Drone Surveying

Effectively reporting on your construction site requires useable, shareable data and readable report formats. Drone-captured survey data, processed correctly, can boost your accountability, communication, and collaboration.

On today’s construction sites alone, lack of project data costs businesses more than $177B annually. Having site data that’s as up-to-date as possible means spotting problems before they become expensive and preventing rework. It means tighter planning and budgeting. It means better contractor management.

Drones put the power of data directly into your hands. They don’t require the same extensive special training and education that traditional surveyor equipment requires. You don’t need to outsource surveying any longer; you can get updated site data as often as you want to fly—monthly, weekly, daily.

software for construction surveying


Why reporting and collaboration matters on construction sites  

It’s straightforward, but when you have an open stream of communication between teams on site and back at the head office, everyone is more aware of what’s going on in a particular project.

The simple checks and balances enabled through frequent, accurate reporting saves time and money in any project. The more people who are paying attention, the more likely spotting an issue becomes, the more likely getting things to go right the first time becomes. This preventative mindset only happens easily with good reporting, with reports everyone can understand.  

While some people have no issue visualizing a finished structure in their minds from a spreadsheet, not everyone is so lucky.  Browser-based drone data visualization software like Propeller aims to make reporting and visualizing your site as straightforward as possible with 3D models rendered as close to the real world as possible. The same goes for making measurements or comparison in that model or to automate repeated tasks and highlight the most relevant information.


Progress reporting the traditional way

Historically, collaboration on worksites has centered on two methods: drawings and physical inspections. While both methods are “tried and true,” the obvious pitfalls are as old as the methods themselves.

One of the major problems with using drawings is the difficulty of communicating the context between your actual, real-world site and a set of drawings. As one of Propeller’s customers, Robert Usher, a project manager at Boral, recently put it, “Most people on site don’t understand drawings. . . . Using Propeller I can show new contractors around key areas.”

Typically, you’d also be visually inspecting work. Whether it’s a during mobilization, daily briefings, or as part of QA checks, observing work (or areas of planned work) is the foundation of site-based communication. The reason is simple—it works. Nothing beats the directness of insitu viewing.

construction site reporting

This is expensive, however. Having personnel on site to inspect before, during, and after site work requires resources. It can also sometimes can bear an unacceptable safety risk depending on the nature of the job, as with deep excavations around blasting or nearby hazardous materials.

For your nonsite-based workforce, including outside stakeholders, getting to site is often not possible. The photos and drawings they have to work with are a poor substitute for in-person visits and they lose a lot of context in translation.


Drone data makes reporting and collaborating on your construction site easy

Things change rapidly on construction sites, and making decisions on data weeks or months old can be an exercise in frustration. Because drone surveying takes significantly less time—both in collecting data and processing it—you can have updated information on your site much more frequently. This alone improves reporting and collaboration because you’re seeing things much closer to real time.

Using 3D data captured by drone, anyone can produce a model that’s visually recognizable and can therefore be used for easy communication by anyone on- or off-site. You can have a visual conversation with your team with relevant data and reports.


Construction site report examples and how to use them

Every site has its unique reporting needs, but here we’re going to cover some common reports that you can use on your construction site.


Track progress and volumes easily

You can check site volumes in seconds and track changes over time with printable reports and a timeline slider.

Volume measurements are quick and simple make. Cut/fill maps are rendered in 3D and color coded for easy viewing.

Design comparison cut/fill construction

With on-screen calculators, you can take the guesswork out of tonnage measurements and inventory value calculations. Each individual measurement you make is rendered separately on our downloadable Measurement Reports (PDF), as well as our CSV Reports. With these, you can easily see and measure how much dirt has been moved, so you can quickly understand how much has been completed and what’s left to do.


Learn more in our new ebook: Construction Site Reporting with Drone Surveying

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