Curious about using drones on your worksite?
Start here

Who Benefits from Drone Survey Data?

| 10.05.2022

Nearly a decade ago, PwC analyzed more than 250 emerging technologies to identify the few that would have the most significant impact across industries. Drones earned a spot on PwC’s list of Essential Eight technologies, and they continue to rank among cutting-edge tech with the highest potential today. 

In the UK, a 2021 study for the Future Flight Challenge (an ongoing government research project to advance aviation solutions) estimated cost savings of 20-50% with drone use, depending on the use case.

In other words, drones have transformed the way we work across industries, and earthwork is no exception.

But there are still some common misconceptions about who benefits from drone survey data, from the field to the office and back again. In this post, we’ll break down exactly who stands to gain from drone survey data—and why.

Drone Surveying

Project managers

A better way to keep projects on track

PMs can’t rely on assumptions or anecdotal evidence to make decisions, or projects can veer off course quickly. But too much data can be as bad as too little, so the ability to quickly interpret insights is key.

PMs want to track overall progress across the entire project lifecycle, using several disparate data inputs, and view that information in a cohesive way. They need a tool that helps them make the right decisions, minimize mistakes, and avoid rework.

Drone survey data helps project managers:

  • Gain clarity and confidence in decision-making
  • Save time on data collection and analytics
  • Make quick, data-based decisions to keep production moving
  • Minimize rework by having the right data at the right times
  • Assess cut/fill progress without waiting for the survey manager
  • Easily share updated info with stakeholders


Ensure your bid always hits the right mark

There’s never enough time in the day—and being understaffed and overworked just adds to the pressure cooker that is an estimator’s daily reality. Estimators must walk a fine line between estimating costs correctly to complete the job to spec, but not bidding so high that you’re constantly undercut by the competition.

Missed counts, volume calculation errors, missed specs, and bad subcontracts are an estimator’s nightmare, so getting all of the facts straight is essential.

For estimators, drone survey data helps:

  • Correctly estimate project size and scale
  • Complete project takeoffs
  • Build models including cut/fill analysis and spot elevations
  • Calculate length, area, and volume with just a few clicks
  • Overlay models against real-world data
  • Review past bids and improve on mistakes

Environmental teams

Quickly (and unintrusively) assess key environmental indicators

Environmental teams are often called to worksites to complete environmental impact studies for reclamation and other projects. Flying a drone to survey the worksite, rather than driving or surveying on foot, greatly reduces the time needed to collect and process data. 

Drone survey data enables environmental teams to:

  • Quickly and efficiently monitor progress
  • Proactively address impact on natural resources (e.g., wildlife migration corridors, natural drainage features, protected forests, etc.)
  • Identify potential issues from the topography
  • Improve site safety
  • Track progress against design and make real-time changes if needed

Business owners

Beat the competition and increase profitability 

Grow your productivity and profitability with easy-to-access data that won’t create overwhelm. Drone surveys help streamline data collection, communication, and collaboration efforts across your business, eliminating silos and preventing rework.

Drone surveys also help scale your operations through faster data collection, creating more efficient teams and optimizing ROI.

Drone surveys help business owners by:

  • Streamlining data collection
  • Eliminating communication silos
  • Optimizing labor
  • Reducing spend on rework, downtime, and change orders
  • Maximizing ROI
Earthworks site


Reliably hit (or exceed) production targets

Fast, frequent drone surveys make it easier to achieve and improve on daily production rates. Superintendents and foremen can spend less time chasing down reliable performance data and more time making the big-picture decisions that affect their team’s output. Operators can get the most out of on-site equipment with near-real-time data.

Drone survey data helps superintendents and foremen:

  • Speed up decision-making with data-driven insights
  • Reduce time spent on manual data input
  • Eliminate communication silos
  • Hit and improve on daily production rates
  • Spot-check cut/fill elevations, earthworks progress, and design conformance
  • Coordinate daily site activities to optimize labor
  • Save time formerly spent on specialized training

Want to know how Propeller’s drone survey platform can help you? Request a demo to learn more.

Subscribe to our newsletter
We’ll let you know every time we publish something new
Say hello to the Propeller Platform
Track, map, and measure active sites anywhere, anytime using cloud-based 3D surveys. Invite your whole team to join and collaborate from a one source of truth.
Get A Demo

Subscribe to The Dirt e-newsletter

Get the latest dirt from Propeller, including industry news, customer stories, webinars, videos, and more.