[ForConstructionPros Podcast] Propeller Discusses Its Solutions for Surveying Earthmoving Projects

Propeller CEO and co-founder, Rory San Miguel, recently joined ForConstructionPros, in a discussion on how drone surveying fits into earthmoving projects.

Listen to the podcast above, or check out the blog below for a quick summary of the key takeaways.

Q: Can drones replace surveyors?

A: No, Propeller is on a mission to empower the surveyor, not replace them. 

Surveyors are some of the busiest crews on site and, ultimately, what we’re trying to do is build technology that helps the surveyors delegate some of their data capture and analysis responsibilities. 

Drones greatly reduce time spent in the field, collecting data, which gives survey teams the opportunity to dedicate more of their bandwidth to analysis and application.

Propeller serves as the single source of truth on site—meaning, engineers, environmental teams, project managers, can access the progress reports they need independently, without overburdening the surveyor with data requests. This eliminates any bottlenecks occurring in the data management workflow. 

Q: What level of accuracy can you get with drones in comparison to a manual surveying crew on site? 

A: We get accuracy down to 1/10ft (3cm). Accuracy is the cornerstone of what we do.

We aren’t motivated by revenue or headcount; we’re motivated by accuracy—bringing hardware and software into the world that helps us build 3D models with 1/10ft level of accuracy for our customers.

We approach all development with an unrelenting commitment to that level of accuracy. 

There are three things that make that level of accuracy possible: 

  • Ground control: We’ve introduced “smart” ground control points called AeroPoints, which are GPS devices that live in the field. 
  • Partnership with DJI: We’ve transformed their RTK-enabled drone into a PPK-enabled drone using our own algorithms 
  • 24/7 support team: We have a whole team that’s there to QA every dataset that comes through our system. 

Q: Is Propeller compatible with Topcon and Trimble solutions that are available to earthmoving contractors? 

A: The short answer: yes. 

We’ve generated a complete stack of the most commonly used geospatial formats—DXF, geoTIFF, point clouds. We generate all those surfaces at the time of upload, and then from there you can export the data and use them with your preferred platforms. 

Our partnership with Trimble also feeds into this topic of compatibility. We work closely to make sure that, by design, our systems are highly compatible. 

Q: How do you help customers overcome FAA regulations and localized restrictions? 

A: With ongoing, expert support. 

30% of our business is dedicated to helping our customers conquer licensing and drone-related hurdles. And, they are all Part-107 trained. 

Q: What sets Propeller apart from competitors? 

A: Our dedication to accuracy, 24/7 support, and the fact that we’re built for construction. 

Choosing a drone solution, really comes down to understanding your needs. If you prioritize accuracy, want to feel supported throughout your drone surveying journey, and are looking for relevant, easy-to-use measurement tools, Propeller is the right choice.

We are the most accurate drone surveying workflow and our 24/7 support team that’s available for every customer, free of charge, is there to make sure you’re successful. 

On top of our level of accuracy and support, each tool we build is the product of customer feedback. Meaning, our tools have purpose behind them, and they’re engineered to make life easier on the worksite. 

Q: Is Propeller a good fit for medium- and small-sized contractors? 

A: It doesn’t matter what size business you are. If you move earth, this is the solution for you. 

Although we have customers ranging from family-owned operations to ENR 400 commercial contractors, there’s one thing they all have in common—they move dirt and a lot of it. We’re on a mission to help earthmoving operations track and measure their material movement more accurately than they ever have before. 

We’ve made our solution economical at every point of scale with a flexible pricing model. If you find yourself asking… 

  • Am I on track?” 
  • “How much do I need to do?”
  • “How much is done?” 
  • “How quickly am I approaching design?” 
  • “What’s the state of the site when I leave?” 

Propeller is the solution for you. 

Want to see how Propeller works? Watch a demo.

Keep reading:

The Ultimate Guide to Stockpile Measurements and Reporting

Propeller Asks: How Has COVID-19 Affected Your Operations?

2020 Earthwork Report

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