Drone surveying

Drone surveying is the application of drone technology to collecting topographic survey data. It is typically conducted using photogrammetry processing or LiDAR sensors for point collection. Compared to traditional methods, drone surveying is a fast, cost-effective, and significantly safer way to collect topography data.

Fast, accurate surveying

Because a drone can quickly and autonomously fly across a region of interest in a specific pattern—taking hundreds of high-resolution photos in a matter of minutes—drone surveying is often a significantly faster process than traditional topographic surveying. These images can then be wirelessly uploaded to the a secure cloud, where they are processed in cloud-based photogrammetry engines—such as Pix4D—and turned into accurate orthomosaics, point clouds, 3D meshes, and more. Topography data created by drone-based photogrammetry processing creates significantly more survey points than traditional methods.

Improving safety

Drone surveying is often safer than traditional topographic surveying, because it helps keep surveyors out of harm’s way. They can avoid, for example, having to climb a stockpile and risk falling, and instead use a drone to safely collect volumetric data while they can safely stay on the ground. Drone operators need only maintain line of sight with the drone as it conducts its flight.

AAS using Site Scan

Due to the relatively low cost of camera drones and mapping software, drone surveying tends to be significantly cheaper than traditional surveying methods. Off the shelf “prosumer” drones, such as the DJI Inspire 2 or DJI Phantom 4 Pro, easily connect to drone surveying software like Site Scan, which can autonomously fly a drone and take photos.

Learn more

For more information on a complete drone surveying workflow, take a look at this case study from All American Surveying, a Texas-based surveying firm that added drones to their toolkit.


Earthworks is the process of engineering involving excavation (cut) and movement (fill) of soils and rock for the purpose of grading a site. Drone software platforms enhance traditional earthwork processes by making it easier to collect, analyze, and share topography and volumetric data.


Revit is an Autodesk computer-aided design (CAD) software tool used for building information modeling (BIM) by design-build construction teams.


Navisworks is an Autodesk software tool used to manage, combine, and review various 3D model files.

See Site Scan in action

Learn how Site Scan can help elevate your workflow

Request a Demo