Technology for Surveyors: Tools to Increase Efficiency

Technology makes many aspects of everyday life easier and faster.

You can order coffee and do your banking from your car. Grocery shopping can be done from your keyboard. And your phone can help you navigate around a traffic jam.

Any business can benefit from the right use of technology. Staff can handle a larger workload without requiring additional hires. An increase in production without the added overhead of more employees creates larger profit margins and a healthier bottom line. The surveying industry is no different. 

Advances in technology can allow surveyors to complete fieldwork faster. This is especially important as the survey industry continues to see more and more surveyors retire. It can also help produce existing conditions plans quicker.  

Surveyors still need to do their own deed and plan research and make their own boundary determinations. But technology can help them keep their workflow ongoing so that their time and efforts can be focused on the tasks that technology can’t perform.

Here are some ways the land surveying industry is implementing technological advances:


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), more commonly referred to as drones, are employed with more frequency in the surveying industry as they’ve become more affordable.  They are no longer considered luxury items or solely for use by the military.  

Drones are ideal for specific survey tasks that a ground crew would have difficulty performing. They also don’t require a manned flight.  

They can cover very large areas in a faster timeframe than a ground crew. That efficiency not only prevents budget-busting but also frees up a field crew for other jobs.  

Drones can cross challenging terrain. Terrain is one of the main factors in determining the difficulty of a survey. A drone will be more efficient in performing that survey. They also provide a measure of safety to your field crews by keeping them out of an area that might have questionable footing.  

Drones can capture photographs of existing land conditions and structures. The crew can then turn their efforts to other ground tasks, such as searching for existing monuments or setting up their traverse for the boundary survey work. These are all ways field crews take advantage of UAVs when it completes to completing surveys. 


Electronic Distance Measuring Tools (EDMs)  

The electronic distance measuring tool provided a technological advance from the traditional theodolite for a few reasons. First off, EDMs have an accuracy rate of ¼-inch. They also are a time saver when linked to data collectors. Crews don’t need to manually record their results at the site.  

Also, EDMs no longer requires two people to operate. They allow a firm to accomplish the same tasks with less labor. Another way to look at it is they can double a firm’s production capabilities.  

EDMs are ideal for surveying high-traffic areas as you no longer need to stop traffic in both directions. Your labor costs remain lower without the additional manpower required to handle traffic control.  


Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)

Boundary surveys are one area where a GNSS comes in handy. A GNSS reduces the need to replicate challenging traverses due to its data location production abilities. That also means less of a need for time-consuming traverse computations.

Technology certainly has played a role in improving the speed and efficiency of land surveying. But it doesn’t end there.  

Once you’ve completed your aerial survey, you can increase the speed and efficiency of your CAD mapping process by implementing AirWorks’ AI-powered software. 

Our software can quickly convert your orthomosaic, point cloud, and boundary files into CAD files. This bypasses the potentially tedious basemap preparation time, thus, allowing your CAD drafters to focus on processing a civil engineer’s site design into a complete plan set.  

The increased efficiency on the CAD end creates a ripple effect throughout your entire firm. The boost in production leads to a faster permitting process. The quicker an approval, the sooner a contractor breaks ground. And the sooner you land the next project. 

Contact AirWorks today or to see how our software can assist with your civil engineering and land surveying needs. To learn more, visit our website at