drones for surveying

digitise your job site

How are drones benefiting surveyors?

Collect data five times faster than traditional methods.

Increase Efficiency And Improve Safety

Using a drone for survey work has many benefits – helping you capture accurate data quickly, safely, and cheaply, which in turn can improve decision-making and provide vital insights.

With their ability to capture data from above, drones have been successfully integrated into surveying workflows to perform land surveys, photogrammetry, 3D mapping, topographic surveying, and more.

Drone surveys can benefit many applications in different industries, such as construction, mining and aggregates, agriculture, urban planning and land management, public safety, and environmental research.

Capturing data with a drone is up to five times faster than with land-based methods and requires less manpower.

But what is a drone survey, what data can you collect from your unmanned aircraft, how can that help you, and which are the best drones to use for these types of missions?

"What would have taken surveyors about eight hours took me about two hours with the drone. You also have the cost savings of paying one person instead of a three-man crew. Combining surveying, drones and CAD information allows us to display our projects in ways never seen before. We provide our team with the big picture and the information they need to more effectively share information and make better-informed decisions .”

Michael Lambert, VDC Manager at Chasco Constructors

What Is A Drone Survey?

Conduct surveys from the air with UAVs.

Put simply, a drone survey is an aerial survey conducted by a drone – and it is becoming increasingly popular.

Using downward-facing sensors, such as RGB or multispectral cameras, or LiDAR payloads, drones can capture a vast quantity of data, quickly. One piece of analysis showed that drones can collect data 97% faster than manual methods.

This data can be used to create a range of assets, such as 3D maps and elevation models, and extract valuable information like highly-accurate measurements and volumetric calculations.

This information helps with informed decision-making and gives valuable insights, including identifying mistakes or problems, keeping up to date with the progress of a project, and to monitor plant health.

Drone surveying has become such a valuable tool, it is being used for land surveying, roof inspections, bridge/building surveys, infrastructure maintenance, and on construction sites.

"Drones enable firms to create highly-accurate maps and point clouds, discover costly job-site mistakes, and predict schedule delays, saving up to tens of thousands of pounds per week.”

Richard Clement, Komatsu

Why use a drone for surveying?

Enhance efficiency, save money, and improve safety.

Drive Business Workflows

There are many advantages to using a drone to carry out a survey, especially compared to traditional methods.

In a nutshell, drones are more efficient than traditional ground-based methods, improve workplace safety, and are able to reach areas that would often be off-limits.

These benefits drive business workflows and outcomes and maximise ROI.

"Drone footage helps streamline project management. It only took my team a few days to complete site mapping with drones, accelerating project planning with more accurate site data."

Grant Hagen, VDC Manager, The Beck Group

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Drone For Surveying?

Find out how drones can transform your surveying missions:

Enhanced Safety

Drones massively increase safety. Why send yourself up to inspect a roof or clamber over a stockpile when a drone can do the job for you?

Using drones for survey work also means that you do not need to put out as many ground control points - in some cases, you don't need any. Not only is this a great time-saver, it is also a huge safety benefit, reducing the need for staff to access potentially dangerous areas of your job site.

Balfour Beatty drone pilot Wayne Hughes said: “Drones make it safer to gain quantities and stockpile measurements. Drones take people away from places where they could be in harm’s way and it means that we haven’t got people climbing over stockpiles. Instead, the drones can fly over the site and generate a model afterwards, which we can review in the office.”

More Efficient And Cheaper

Capturing data with a drone is much quicker than using on-the-ground techniques and requires less manpower. Using RTK (real-time kinematic) or PPK (post-processed kinematic) technology also saves you the arduous and sometimes dangerous task of placing a large number of ground control points.

For example, Balfour Beatty used drones on a Smart Motorway development, including measuring stockpiles. The firm said that it would take a surveyor, using traditional handheld equipment, about a day to measure the stockpiles and process the data. But using the drone, the compound could be flown in 15 minutes and the model could be processed in about two hours.

Using drones means you deliver your survey results faster and, as a result, at a lower cost.

Russell Byrd, Virtual Design and Construction Coordinator at Brasfield & Gorrie, said: "Our project and safety teams can now complete walkthroughs remotely — increasing safety and awareness without ever having to step on site."

Reach Inaccessible Places

Drones can reach places that humans can’t. They can also fly at a much lower altitude, compared to manned aircraft or satellite imagery. This is a particular advantage if you have cloud cover.

Highly-accurate Data Which Can Be Shared

Drones collect highly-accurate data.

One drone flight produces thousands of measurements, which can be represented in different formats (orthomosaic, point cloud, DTM, DSM, contour lines, etc). Each pixel of the produced map or point of the 3D model contains 3D geo-data.

Crucially, this information can be stored and shared quickly, which helps with decision-making and team-wide communication. 

Monitor Progress Of  A Job Site And Improve Asset Productivity

Drones provide a bird’s-eye view of a site, giving a complete snapshot of the area and offering useful insights.

Carrying out regular flights across a project allows your team to monitor progress and identify any mistakes or problems. Crucially, these issues can be spotted early, helping you make rapid and informed decisions.

Drones give a unique view, which you would not get from the ground, and are able to cover an area quicker and safer than traditional on-the-ground methods. 

Matthew Forster, Project Engineer for Choate Construction, said: "Drone maps give my team a bird’s eye view of the site, which looks a lot different than being on the ground. It gives them a full picture."


Learn more about how the professionals are benefiting from drones for surveying.

Balfour Beatty Deploys Drones On Smart Motorway Build

Balfour Beatty utilised drones - including the DJI Phantom 4 RTK - during a £212million Smart Motorway upgrade on the M6.

The international infrastructure group used UAS for quicker stockpile measurements, informative aerial progress reports, and accessing hard-to-reach areas.

Using drones helped the company enhance safety, increase efficiency, gather data faster, improve asset productivity and gain high-accuracy results.

Drones have shown their worth when it comes to measuring stockpile volumes; not only do they help with efficiency, but they also improve safety. 
"The drones are a great time saver. Take the recycling compound for example. If we were to measure stockpiles with traditional survey tools, it would take a lot longer to measure the site and gather the data, whereas drones enable the team to do fairly rapid measurements of different types of materials and earthworks.”

Craig Matthews, Principal UAS Manager for Balfour Beatty

Atkins Uses Bespoke DJI Drone For Surveying

Increased efficiency, improved safety, and reduced costs – world-renowned engineering and design company Atkins is benefiting from drones, including a bespoke DJI M600 Pro with a Sony RX1R II sensor, integrated by Heliguy.

Pairing the high-tech 42MP camera with the drone and a high-precision GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) has provided a tailored solution to meet Atkins’ specific survey requirements and allowed the business to capture and generate accurate and repeatable data.

The company says that when compared with traditional survey methods, drones dramatically reduce the amount of time the survey team spends walking the site, reducing or even eliminating the time spent working in potentially dangerous environments.

“While we still use planes and helicopters on many of our largest projects, drones allow us to mobilise quicker and reduce costs when surveying small to medium-sized sites. We’re also able to capture higher resolution images – down to sub-cm from drones vs 2-3cm from manned aircraft – and combine mapping and inspection surveys into the same site visit, increasing efficiency."

James Fleming, Geomatics Consultant (UK & Europe), at Atkins

DJI Phantom 4 RTK Used For Breakwater Survey

Terra Drone Europe (formerly Skeye) used the DJI Phantom 4 RTK to carry out an important survey of breakwaters in Central America.

Terra Drone Europe partnered the Dutch company Deep for the work, which took place in Guatemala.

Over the past six years, Terra Drone Europe has undertaken many collaborative marine-based aerial surveys to create unique data sets in extremely remote or difficult to access areas.

By combing hydrographic survey data with aerial survey data, it is possible to create a seamless 3D model showing features above and below the water level.

This uninterrupted view provides significant insights into complicated spaces and the data produced supports key decision making.

"The DJI Phantom 4 RTK was chosen for its high accuracy to determine the photo positions. We believe and have demonstrated that the number of ground control points can be greatly reduced by using this drone."

Terra Drone Europe

DJI Drones Transforming Visual Survey Work

Quayle Industries is utilising the DJI M210 Series V2 with the DJI Zenmuse Z30 zoom payload, as well as the X4S and X5S imaging cameras, for a range of drone surveys, including roof inspections, power-cable checks and site-progress monitoring.

Utilising DJI tech - supplied by HELIGUY.com™ - Quayle Industries is able to carry out its work quicker, easier and safer than traditional methods – keeping people away from potentially dangerous situations, accessing hard-to-reach areas and providing unique viewpoints.

For example, Quayle Industries used the M210 V2 with the Z30 for this roof survey, pictured right. The image on the left shows the view from the drone, high above the building, while the image on the right is a crystal clear picture of two of the chimneys, as captured using the zoom.

This method has numerous advantages. Firstly, the inspection can be completed without having to send team members onto the roof, improving safety.

It is also a great timesaver, as the information can be collected far quicker with a drone than by someone having to climb onto the top of the building to inspect the scene. This also helps with cost.

And while this technique is time-effective, it does not scrimp on quality, as the Z30 picks up every detail of the two chimneys, which in turn helps with the inspection.

“If you need an asset inspection, then drones can take high-definition photos which show you the condition of the property. This is perfect for roofs and other hard-to-access areas. We supply high-definition photographs or 4k videos of any infrastructure that needs to be checked for damage. By using a drone, you negate the need for elevated work platforms or scaffolding, reducing costs, time and most importantly, risk. The level of zoom achievable with the Z30 is outstanding."

Quinton Quayle, Quayle Industries

What Type Of Deliverables Can You Get with a drone survey?      

Transform drone data into a range of digital assets to give you key insights.

Enhance Your Workflows

Depending on your choice of data sensors and software, drone surveying can produce a variety of deliverables with use cases in many industries. Here is a selection:

2D Map

Surveying software can stitch together hundreds or thousands of digital photos captured by your drone, and produce high-quality 2D orthomosaic maps.

Having a 2D map can be useful for a number of reasons and can be utilised across a range of industries, including construction and infrastructure.

By having a drone take hundreds or thousands of pictures, you will not only create a complete map, but you will also have a huge collection of individual high-definition pictures.

These maps and pictures give you a real-world view, helping rapid decision-making and analysis of how a project is progressing.

3D Mapping

A Point Cloud is a 3D visualisation made up of thousands or even millions of georeferenced points. Point clouds provide high-resolution data and give you an interactive 3D model with real-world imagery. This will help you inspect your job site, for instance.

Using 3D data allows you to produce a digital surface model (DSM), Digital Elevation Model (DEM), or a Digital Terrain Model (DTM).

Point clouds can also be used to develop digitised models of structures for CAD and BIM-related purposes, something which is at the forefront of modern construction.

Volumetric Survey

Drones can be used to create volumetric models, useful for stockpile measurements, for instance.

Traditional stockpile measurements when using GPS or Total Stations are inhibited by the limited sample data which can be collected. Instead of using a spot grid with a point every 5 metres, a drone can collect a point with a ground sample distance of 1cm creating a much better sampled and more accurate data set.

Thermal Imaging Survey

Survey with a thermal camera and quickly identify targets with abnormal heat signatures.

Thermal surveys can help to identify heat loss, in order to improve energy efficiency; can identify water leaks or moisture ingress, or faults with wiring and other electrical components.


Equip your drone with a LiDAR camera to produce a high-density point cloud, giving you useful information about the shape of the Earth and its features.

A LiDAR map is useful for industries such as forestry, and agriculture/landscaping.

Drone Visual Survey

Drones can be used for producing visual surveys. A visual drone survey and drone inspection can be carried out to check powerlines and roof inspections.

Using a drone to do this is more efficient, cheaper and safer than traditional methods.

processing drone survey data

Maximise your data collection.

Generate Digital Models To Drive Business Outcomes

While surveying with drones, images of the ground are taken from multiple vantage points. Through processing these images, photogrammetry software can then create orthomosaics and 3D models, from which it can measure accurate distance, as well as surfaces and volumes of physical objects.

Drone mapping software is a key part of your drone survey operations, transforming the data you have collected into meaningful assets which aid decision-making.

As a word of caution, image processing can be a lengthy process depending on the number of images and the performance of your computer.

what is the best drone mapping software to use?

A selection of industry-leading solutions.

Drone mapping and fleet management software are essential components of any successful UAV surveying programme - and HELIGUY.com™ has partnered with some of the industry's leading providers to provide surveyors with the tools to maximise their data and missions. 

Each solution has its own array of features which can benefit the end-user and HELIGUY.com™'s enterprise experts can talk you through the ideal software package and help you unlock the licence for your desired platform. 

Drone Mapping Software

Esri Site Scan for ArcGIS

Esri Site Scan for ArcGIS is especially suited to the AEC industry.

This cloud-based software suite provides an end-to-end drone mapping workflow, comprising drone flight planning, fleet management, image processing, and data analysis capabilities.

Key features include:

  • Repeat flight plans to collect accurate data and keep up to date with progress on your job site.
  • Process imagery in the cloud (EU-based) to build detailed and accurate 2D maps and 3D reconstructions.
  • Utilise a range of analysis and measurement tools to collect meaningful insights to help shape informed decision-making.
  • Streamlined sharing of data and analysis.
  • Manage your drone fleet to ensure the smooth and safe running of your UAS operations.

DJI Terra

DJI Terra transforms drone data into digital 3D models and maps for easy analysis and decision-making.

Carry out real-time mapping and generate high-quality 2D and 3D reconstructions and measurements, among other things.

An Electricity License is also available, to provide new optimisations for powerline modelling, helping enterprise users create detailed 3D reconstructions of thin powerlines.


Pix4D has been designed to allow professionals to generate high-quality 2D and 3D data through the use of aerial imagery. 

The photogrammetry aspect of the software uses the images captured by UAVs to generate results ranging from point clouds to digital surface and terrain models, orthomosaics to textured models.

Select the perfect flight plan for your project and monitor the image acquisition in real-time.


DroneDeploy is a comprehensive mapping tool with a range of features is maximise drone surveying missions.

Automate maps and photo flights for DJI drones using DroneDeploy’s mobile app; create accurate, high-resolution maps, reports and 3D models, as well as real-time 2D live maps for immediate analysis.

Enable teams with unlimited cloud image processing and single-click collaboration, export and integration options.

Agisoft Metashape

Use Agisoft Metashape to perform photogrammetric processing of digital images and generate 3D spatial data to be used in GIS applications.

The Standard Edition enables uses to conduct panorama stitching, 3D model generation/texturing, dense point cloud generation, and photogrammetric triangulation. 

A Professional package is also available, with extended features such as 4D modelling, access to Python script to allow for processing workflows customisation, and to export georeferenced orthomosaic data.

Trimble VRS

Trimble VRS gives you instant access to RTK positioning services using a network of permanent, continuously operating reference stations.

Trimble VRS' reliable network ensures you have uninterrupted connectivity, so you don't have to worry about dropped signals.

Trimble VRS is easy to use (just connect, correct, and measure), enables instant initialisation (full accuracy instantly under optimal conditions), and is a high-accuracy tool (better than 2cm accuracy for jobs that require the highest level of precision positioning).

AirMap JobSight

The AirMap JobSight platform delivers a secure, reliable, and accurate digital twin of the airspace.

AirMap’s airspace automation technology delivers a common, real-time operational picture of low-altitude airspace to all stakeholders, while AirMap’s flight automation technology enables enterprise operators to integrate drones into their operations. 

Other highlights include AirMap’s dataflow engine which automates the entire life cycle of drone sensor data. 

Drone Fleet Management Platforms

Streamline your commercial operations

DJI FlightHub: Manage your entire drone operation using DJI FlightHub, including the Enterprise edition. If you're operating multiple drones and pilots, while juggling multiple operations, DJI FlightHub will give you a live, complete picture of your entire drone programme. Highlights include real-time communication with pilots during live operations; easy flight log recording and management; manage equipment, pilots and individual flights across your whole organisation; and simple to use mission planning tools to increase efficiency.

DJI GS Pro: Enhance your drone operations with DJI Ground Station Pro (DJI GS Pro), an iPad app.  GS Pro allows you to conduct automated flight missions, manage flight data on the cloud, and collaborate across projects to efficiently run your drone programme. GS Pro allows you to back-up flight data in the cloud; coordinate teams and designate roles for mission simplicity and clarity; and generate efficient flight paths and upload collected data into reconstruction software to generate 3D maps.

Soarizon: This integrated software package enables operators to plan, fly, analyse, and track their drone missions anywhere in the world - increasing the ease and effectiveness of commercial UAV programmes.  This secure and efficient ecosystem provides operators with advanced mission planning, airspace data and 3D visualisation, risk assessment tools, NOTAMs, and mapping capabilities - all in one place.

How Accurate Is A Drone Survey?

Achieve centimetre-level accuracy.

You can rely on drone data

Surveying drone solutions can produce different degrees of accuracy, depending on the requirements of the project.

In an independent study by DroneDeploy, the DJI Phantom 4 RTK achieved 2cm relative vertical accuracy and 1.20cm relative horizontal accuracy.

An accuracy report with Heliguy client Terra Drone Europe also showed that the DJI Phantom 4 RTK can achieve 3cm-4cm accuracies without needing to lay any ground control points.

For some applications, like checking crop growth, or construction progress, high relative accuracy is sufficient. For other jobs that also require high absolute accuracy, there are drones equipped with Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) and Post-Processed Kinematic (PPK) capabilities. When paired with a few Ground Control Points, survey-level accuracy can be achieved.

"Not only can you get accurate results, but in most cases using the Phantom 4 RTK to survey will reduce costs associated with traditional methods, including that spent on labour, hardware, and software. This also comes with the general benefits our customers achieve, such as greater productivity, faster time to insights, improved collaboration, and increased job site safety."

DroneDeploy verdict after testing the accuracy of the DJI Phantom 4 RTK

What Is Ground Sample Distance (GSD)

Ground Sample Distance (GSD) is the terminology used to describe how much distance on the ground is displayed between each pixel centre on the image. For example, if the GSD is 1.5cm then each individual pixel on the image relates to 1.5cm squared on the ground.

GSD is dependent on two factors:

  • Flying Height - the higher you fly the greater your GSD becomes.
  • Camera Resolution - The higher the resolution the better ground detail can be shown in the photograph meaning a lower GSD.

It is also important to remember that if your project requires a specific accuracy then your GSD must not exceed this. For example, if you are aiming to achieve a final relative accuracy of 2cm your GSD should not be higher than 2cm.

what are Ground Control Points?

Help capture accurate drone data.

RTK can reduce the need for GCPs

When it comes to obtaining survey-grade accuracy from drone mapping, using GCPs has traditionally been the primary method.

Ground control points – or GCPs as they are known – are marked points on the ground that have a known geographic location.

For aerial survey applications, GCPs are typically required as they can enhance the positioning and accuracy of the mapping outputs. Indeed, GCPs allow the survey drone to obtain fairly accurate data.

However, taking this approach does have its downsides. This method can be laborious – as it requires laying out and precisely geolocating numerous control points - and can take a large amount of preparation. In some cases, more time is spent laying GCPs than conducting the drone mapping itself.

There is a way to minimise or eliminate the need for GCPs - that is utilising RTK and PPK correctional technologies. And drones such as the DJI Phantom 4 RTK and M210 RTK V2 benefit from this technology to help streamline your drone surveying missions.

Taking this approach can eliminate, or certainly reduce, the number of GCPs which are required. Utilising this technology can save 75 per cent of time and money spent on drone-mapping set-up, it has been estimated, and can result in centimetre-accurate data.

"The unique selling point of the DJI Phantom 4 RTK is that it is able to record the exact set of coordinates at the moment of the image acquisition using RTK GNSS. This lowers the number of ground control points needed - reducing the amount of time needed to be on-site while maintaining the same level of accuracy."

Terra Drone Europe Phantom 4 RTK Accuracy Report


Which is best for your drone surveying missions?

Drone pilots can take advantage of PPK (Post-processed Kinematic) and RTK (real-time kinematic) during surveying and mapping projects. But what is the difference?

  • RTK is a GPS correction-technology technique that provides real-time corrections to location data when the survey drone is capturing photos of a site. Real-time correction is a major industry advantage.
  • PPK is another GPS correction-technology technique that works to correct location data, except in the cloud after the drone data has been captured and uploaded.

In other words, this means that in terms of positional correcting, RTK does this during the flight, while PPK makes the changes afterwards.

RTK has many benefits, such as the pinpoint accuracy of the aircraft during flight, and accurate geotagging of the information the aircraft captures.

However, RTK requires a very specific base station and other pieces of equipment that work together in order to process data in real-time, and signals can be obstructed which results in loss of correction data. This is not an issue with PPK.

PPK also removes the requirement for GCPs saving you further time in the field.

Surveying With And Without RTK

Here is a breakdown of the advantages of utilising a drone with RTK, compared to relying on only ground control points, or flying a UAV without RTK.

Possibly the best combination is deploying a drone with RTK and a small number of strategically-positioned ground control points.

Having flown the DJI Phantom 4 RTK, Terra Drone Europe believes that in some cases the accuracy that can be achieved without any GCPs is less than 3-4cm, but when in need of greater accuracy, then it is advisable to use a number of ground control points - but it is still a reduction compared to traditional surveying methods.


GCPs Alone

Drone Without RTK

Drone With RTK

Drone With RTK + GCP










Medium to High






GCPs Alone

  • High Accuracy
  • Low Speed
  • High Cost

Drone Without RTK

  • Low Accuracy
  • High Speed
  • Low Cost

Drone With RTK

  • High Accuracy
  • High Speed
  • Low Cost


  • Highest Accuracy
  • Medium to High Speed
  • Low Cost

Drone Photogrammetry v LiDAR

Pick the right solution for your needs.

In drone survey missions, the choice between photogrammetry (above, right) and LiDAR (below, right) depends heavily on your mission and your budget.

Drone photogrammetry is when a drone captures a large number of high-resolution images over a specific area. You can use these images to reconstruct the terrain in 3D using image overlap and sufficient ground control.

Photogrammetry is best for mapping, surveys, mining, broad-coverage combined with high horizontal and vertical accuracy.

In contrast, LiDAR (which stands for light detection and ranging) is a remote sensing technology that uses rapid laser pulses to map out the surface of the earth.

LiDAR is useful when used to create high-resolution digital surfaces, terrain and elevation models used for various business applications.

Both photogrammetry and LIDAR can provide remarkable levels of 3D model accuracy, especially compared with terrestrial sampling methods.

A big advantage of photogrammetry is that this technique not only generates accurate 3D models, but also full-colour, high-resolution information for every point on that model, giving clear visual context.

This makes interpretation and analysis of the results much easier compared to a pure LiDAR point cloud.

However, when it comes to surveying land with dense vegetation, where the light pulses can still penetrate between branches and leaves, LiDAR gets highly-detailed information.

This is a big advantage over photogrammetry, as photogrammetry can only produce accurate surveys when there is sparse vegetation on site. While LiDAR does have similar limitations, under good conditions it can penetrate areas with up to 90% vegetation. (Photogrammetry sits closer to the 60% mark).

One of the biggest differences between photogrammetry and LiDAR is the price.

Thanks to innovation, LiDAR has become a much more accessible solution than it used to be. That said, it still comes at a price, and is a more costly solution than photogrammetry.

A drone-based lidar system can set you back tens-of-thousands-of-pounds, whereas a DJI Phantom 4 RTK will cost a few thousand pounds, and is easier to use.

Drone LiDAR Sensors

Zenmuse DJI L1 Drone LiDAR Sensor

The DJI Zenmuse L1 integrates a LiDAR module and 20MP RGB camera, along with a high-accuracy IMU.

Engineered exclusively for the DJI M300 RTK drone, the L1 is a robust and efficient LiDAR solution, able to cover up to 2km² in a single flight and capable of achieving accuracies of 5cm (vertical) and 10cm (horizontal) at 50m flight altitude.

With a point rate of 240,000 points per second, which can be increased thanks to the L1's ability to support up to 3 returns, the L1 can be used to create highly detailed and dense point clouds.

Use Point Cloud LiveView to obtain real-time point clouds, while the RGB camera helps to give colour to your data. The RGB camera can also be used for photogrammetry missions..

The L1 is a rugged LiDAR solution, thanks to its IP54 rating, ensuring a reliable performance in difficult weather conditions and enabling more opportunities to capture data.

The L1 can be used in conjunction with drone survey software package, DJI Terra, for an end-to-end surveying solution within the DJI ecosystem.


GeoSLAM ZEB Horizon

HELIGUY.com™ has partnered with GeoSLAM to add its drone LiDAR solution to our product portfolio.

The GeoSLAM ZEB Horizon is a 3D laser scanner which can be integrated with the DJI M600 Pro via a UAV mount.

This lightweight and compact aerial mapping technology has a range of 100m and can capture 300,000 points per second with an accuracy of 1-3cm.

It can be used in remote areas with poor GPS and enables operators to capture data for 3D modelling, conduct material volume and tonnage calculations, and collect floorplan and building measurements.

The ZEB Horizon can be utilised for a range of missions, including forestry, power lines, railways, farming, mining, and construction sites.

Data collected from ZEB Horizon can be processed using GeoSlam Hub and Draw, turning your 3D data into actionable information and valuable deliverables in minutes.

What Are The Best Drones for surveying?

Next-generation tools to maximise results.

As the world's leading drone manufacturer, DJI has built a range of aircraft to help transform surveying and mapping workflows and arm teams with accurate data that they can trust.

Below are a selection of drones from the DJI ecosystem which will assist your mapping missions.

M300 RTK

The M300 RTK is DJI's flagship commercial drone.

It is IP45 rated, can fly for up to 55 minutes, can carry third payloads at once, and has advanced safety features.

For surveying, pair the M300 RTK with the P1 or L1 payloads. The P1 is a high-resolution 45MP full-frame camera, ideal for photogrammetry. The L1 combines a Lidar module, RGB camera, and a high-accuracy IMU.

For expanded mission efficiency, the M300 RTK can also be integrated with the H20 Series; with the H20T having thermal, zoom, wide, and laser rangefinder capabilities.

Phantom 4 RTK

The DJI Phantom 4 RTK is a compact and accurate low altitude drone mapping solution.

Engineered exclusively for drone surveying, its 1”CMOS sensor can capture 20MP images.

The Phantom 4 RTK is capable of achieving 1cm+1ppm RTK Horizontal Positioning Accuracy, and 1.5cm+1ppm RTK Vertical Positioning Accuracy.

A new RTK module is integrated directly into the Phantom 4 RTK, providing real-time, centimetre-level positioning data for improved absolute accuracy on image metadata.

M210 RTK V2

Pair the DJI M210 RTK V2 with an X7 camera for a rugged and robust surveying solution. 

The X7 camera can capture 24MP images and has 24mm and 35mm lenses, providing a large equivalent focal length.

The drone is IP43 rated and its dual RTK antennas provide powerful antimagnetic interference capability and hold the drone steady. 

The M210 RTK V2 is also a flexible solution, able to be integrated with a range of cameras, such as the XT2 or Z30, and third-party payloads.

M600 Pro

The DJI M600 Pro is a robust heavy-lift surveying solution.

The DJI M600 Pro utilises the Lightbridge 2 HD transmission system and has triple redundancy along with algorithms that help pilots get accurate real-time diagnostic information.

The drone can be integrated with high-resolution third-party payloads, like the Sony RX1R II sensor, to make it a comprehensive surveying and mapping platform. It can also carry quality sensors such as the Z30 and XT2 for added mission versatility.

Phantom 4 Multispectral

Gather precise plant-level data using the high-precision DJI Phantom 4 Multispectral.

Access information collected by one RGB camera and a multispectral camera array with five cameras covering Blue, Green, Red, Red Edge, and Near Infrared bands – all at 2MP with global shutter, on a 3-axis stabilised gimbal.

Multispectral imaging measures bands of the electromagnetic spectrum other than visible light and each band can be used to derive different information from the same image. Multispectral data can be used to gain vital agricultural data.

how can HELIGUY.com™ empower your drone surveys?

Speak to our GIS expert.

A Track Record Of Supply And Support

As one of the world's leading drone suppliers, HELIGUY.com™ has a track record of supporting major clients who are using unmanned aircraft for surveying. These clients include Balfour Beatty, Terra Drone Europe, Network Rail, and Atkins.

We have a dedicated enterprise team, including a GIS specialist, Ben Sangster (pictured, right), who helps surveyors maximise their drone programmes, utilise collected data and increase return on investment.

Ben provides comprehensive workflow support to our commercial clients, with a focus on spatial mapping, photogrammetry, surveying, and LiDAR, and offers specialist and dedicated advice on the best industry-hardware and software.

As a true one-stop-shop, HELIGUY.com™ can support every step of your commercial drone programme, with an expert drone training team, in-house DJI™-trained technicians for repairs and custom projects, innovative finance solutions to enable successful adoption and scaling, and a range of hardware-supply options, including rental.

With warehouse facilities in Dallas, Texas, USA, and the United Kingdom, HELIGUY.com™ is able to supply drone pilots and support UAS projects around the world.

Arrange a Meeting

Arrange a Meeting with HELIGUY.com™

Book a meeting to discuss your projects requirements, schedule product demonstrations and get your questions answered.

Ben Sangster

GIS, Surveying

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Wayne Hughes, Balfour Beatty

Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions on drones for surveying

Will drones replace surveyors?

Surveying has many avenues beyond photogrammetry, many of which aren't possible with drones and don't provide the required accuracy. However, drones are a major and often a very efficient method of collecting topographic data which are becoming a much more common tool to collect survey data. Drones will not replace surveyors, they will only enable them to produce better results at a faster speed.

Does the benefit of having a drone with RTK functionality reach beyond surveying and construction?

Yes. The Phantom 4 RTK has potential benefits in the inspection industry with power grid organisations using the Ocysync 2.0 transmission system to obtain unobstructed interference-free flights when operating in high interference areas.

Do I need to be a qualified surveyor to operate a survey-grade drone?

No. Both qualified and unqualified surveyors can operate a drone for surveying purposes. A survey-grade drone operates very similarly to a standard drone however producing more accurate results which can be used to derive spatial information.

What sort of accuracies can a drone with RTK functionality obtain?

Without GCP’s = 30-40mm

With 3/4 GCP’s = 15mm

(Example based on 250m x 100m)

What are the recommended drones for surveying applications?

The best DJI drones are the Phantom 4 RTK,  Matrice 210 RTK V2, and the  Matrice 600 with high-resolution, third-party payload.