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  • Erosion: Making Mountains into Molehills

    • Enaeria
    15 February2017

    Warm summer breezes at the beach or a spring shower chasing away the remaining snow after a particularly harsh winter are welcome things.

    Rain allows rivers to be replenished, flowers and trees to grow, and cars to be cleaned. But it also takes its toll on nature. Erosion—a word we all know but rarely think of.  This natural and man-made phenomenon has the power to wear away at hills, rocks, and shorelines.

    On a construction site, this can cause delays and additional costs if not properly managed.  As laid out in the Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) guidelines it is imperative to monitor and manage this to the best of your ability.  The process begins with the approvals to develop the land. Creating a topographical map of your site and a fully navigable 3D rendering before you break ground is a vital tool.

    The application of using drone technology  is not limited to the initial survey of the property, but is beneficial throughout the construction process.  Scanning periodically (weekly or monthly) enables monitoring the extent of erosion and timely reporting. This technology allows for a measurement of the erosion with a grid spacing of 5 sq cm. Even smaller grid spacing is possible if needed.

    Not only can 1-2 cm accuracy be achieved, this process also takes a fraction of the time and cost in comparison to a traditional survey .  A drone can survey up to 60 acres in approximately 20 minutes.  The drone is able to see around obstructions which can be difficult for a team to navigate.

    A topographical map is created using post-processing software, which takes into account the drone images, GPS coordinates, and orientation metrics. Just one survey can include upwards of 10 million data points. Tracking erosion at your site has never been easier.

    However, operating a drone can present risks, which is why Transport Canada and The Federal Aviation Administration in the USA have put certain laws in place. These regulations ensure that the pilots are experienced and properly trained, while their equipment is certified and adequately insured. Not all self-proclaimed drone surveying companies abide by these government mandates, so be sure to ask to see their certifications before liftoff.

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