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Construction projects have been around since ancient times. Projects ranging from roads, to cathedrals, to sky scrapers have stood the test of time. While all these projects are vastly different in the final results they all start at the same level, the ground. It is critical to have a solid foundation of the starting surface before any construction can begin.
We often forget how far technology has advanced when it comes to preparing the surface foundation for a construction project. Over the years the techniques have evolved from manual labour by hand, into simple mechanical systems, into motorized equipment, and even into fully autonomous GPS integrated bulldozers and graders.
With the advancement of this construction equipment capability comes many new opportunities to continuously optimize this process. Present day construction equipment is equipped with options for automatically grading the construction site to a set design. How this works is that a survey of the current surface elevation is acquired and compared to the design surface for the project. This information is downloaded into the construction equipment and an on-board computer generates the complete grading plan. As the operator drives the unit across the site this plan is sent to the machines cutting edge to automatically adjust to the correct elevation based on the machine’s current location.
This autonomous grading technology saves general contractors and construction site managers time and money while achieving significantly more accurate results.
For this system to be effectively adapted for construction projects it is important to acquire an accurate base condition survey of the surface. Using traditional methods a survey like this could take several days or weeks. The opportunity to optimize this surveying has been achieved by implementing emerging Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV or drone) technology.
In the last five years UAV technology has advanced at an incredible rate. GPS and positioning sensors keep the craft stable and enable data collection that was not possible before. A drone can survey 60 acres in 20 minutes. They are capable of acquiring several million data points at centimetre accuracy.
Combining the latest grading technology with drone surveying will produce record breaking results and cause significant time savings.
Operating a drone can present risks which is why Transport Canada (Canada) and The Federal Aviation Administration (USA) have put certain laws in place. The idea is to make sure that the pilot is experienced and properly trained and that the equipment is certified, and adequately insured. Not all self-claimed drone surveying companies abide by these government mandates so be sure to ask to see their certificates before lift-off.Read More
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