Five Ways to Use Drone Data on Your Construction Site

Drones are revolutionizing the construction industry and revamping many common workflows from safety to inspections to earthmoving. But with all the data you can collect with drones, what are the best ways to use it on your site? Let’s go over a few great ways to use drone-captured survey data on your construction site.


1. Settle disputes easier by knowing who’s moved what

No one wants to move someone else’s dirt. In the past, having to do another’s work was all too common because you couldn’t proved how much dirt had been moved.

With drone surveys completed more frequently, you get a visual, detailed account of whose dirt went where and when. Propeller’s timeline tool allows you to slide between survey dates from one flyover to the next or see a progression of changes in a cross-section view.

The cross section view of a construction sute

Having a paper trail and easy-to-understand visuals enable you to settle disputes if they come up and troubleshoot problems as they happen to avoid legal complications or fines in the first place. Accurate stockpile volumetrics allow you to pin down tonnage measurements and get a number you can trust.

For example, a civil contractor in California was spending upwards of $2M every year on unforeseen earthwork projects, simply because they couldn’t accurately track progress to prove the dirt wasn’t in their scope of work. Unlocking real-time insights with Propeller on earthwork movement on site, they identified discrepancies as the project progressed and submitted data-driven change orders, ultimately increasing net profits by $2.5M, a 50% increase.


2. Track progress against design frequently

Regularly checking your construction site against design goes a long way, but it’s difficult to generate those comparisons quickly with traditional methods. Spotting a problem before it becomes expensive is ideal, but is not typically a part of the status quo. Drone survey data has changed that.

With a processing platform like Propeller, uploaded design surfaces can be viewed at any time against any survey captured for that site. This removes the conversation barriers that arise when using drawings or visual inspections to gauge where you’re at against design.

construction site check against the design

A trained engineer might have no problem visualizing the plan in their mind, but when briefing your team—or your boss—it’s easier to take abstraction out of the conversation.


3. Avoid environmental fines

Depending on where you’re building, you might have more than just the regular restrictions to contend with. To avoid any fines associated with failed inspections or violations, you need to keep tabs on your site boundaries and no-go zones.

Environmental no-go zone on a worksite

In addition to the benefits delivered with more frequent surveys and a visual 3D interface, you can mark off protected areas on your site and share them with your team. This gets everyone on the same page easily and highlights exactly where to be cautious.


4. Ensure safety on your construction site

Safety is always going to be your first priority. From day-to-day safety plans to traffic management, you spend time and resources to get them right.

Drone data and platform’s like Propeller allow you to trim time off these tasks. Since the surveys are accurate and up-to-date, the need for in-person inspections are decreased, or sometimes eliminated.

With the line tool, you can quickly measure haul roads to ensure they meet safety standards. Short- and long-term traffic management can be streamlined with accurate, bird’s-eye visuals of assets, past vehicle movement, and existing roads.

And never underestimate the value of up-to-date site maps. Both the orthophoto and individual shots are downloadable. Tack up the site photo in the office or use it to map out that day’s route with your team or visitors.

If you want a deeper dive on this topic, download our ebook on Drones and Safety:
Safety nad Drones

5. Troubleshoot mobile plant operation quickly

Even small alterations from haul road design can mean an increase in cycle times and fuel burn. Not to mention falling outside of proper safety guidelines. The time, legwork, and safety risks associated with monitoring and fixing those issues add up.

With drone surveying and Propeller, you no longer need to leave the office to troubleshoot any of it. You can measure grades and cross-slopes directly in your web browser. With road widths and windrow heights in hand, you can quickly compare against design and standard safety requirements. Simple, accurate visuals make any conversation about the physical site easier to understand.

Haul road grade measurement using drone data

It’s hard not to overstate the value of being able to survey more often. With frequent data capture, you can take the pulse of your site and do inspections remotely. Monitor and stop problems before they become expensive or require rework.


Learn how your construction site could benefit from drone data analytics: Watch a demo of the Propeller Platform.

Read more:
Improve Construction Site Management, Collaboration with Drone Mapping and Analytics
Construction Site Manager’s Guide to Drones
Improve Earthworks Estimates with Drone Data

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