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  • Writer's pictureTRACE Environmental

Using Cutting-Edge Drone Technology to Revolutionise Site Remediation and Redevelopment Projects

Updated: Feb 27, 2022

In a newsletter from late last year, EPA included an article called “Eyes in the Sky”

It outlined how NSW EPA have been increasing their use of drones particularly due to COVID & the inability to assess sites in person. It even led to prosecution & a fine of $270,000 for one site breaching waste practices.

This is a good reminder of the role of Drone Technology in collecting vital information on a site. The use of this technology is in no way limited to compliance checks & can provide extremely useful information for the property development, construction & contaminated land industries.

The use of Drone Technology is not brand new, however the applications of the data & the footage collected are advancing rapidly.

Accurately tracking the extent of remedial excavations, and the movement of excavated site materials, including fill materials imported onto sites, has long been a significant challenge.

Traditional methods have typically comprised physical inspections, and the use of manual measurements or professional surveying services, which can incur significant costs across the full project lifespan. The accuracy of this data is also very dependent on the experience of those undertaking the measurements, and quality of data being recorded.

The latest cutting-edge 3D aerial surveying drones, using Real-time Kinematic Positioning (RTK) technology, enable you to track earthworks with pin-point accuracy. A digital twin can be created for the site which models site data, across a given time period. This gives the user the ability to interrogate highly accurate geometric measurements, such as length, height, depth, slope angle, area, volume, etc. for any changes to site configuration which have occurred over the measurement period. And once configured, it is very cost effective to fly repeat surveys across the project area on a frequent basis, if required.

Check out our UAV Aerial Mapping Demo to show you what's possible

So, what does this mean for the site owner/project manager?

More accurate data, acquired at lower cost, means easy verification of excavation, filling or stockpile extents and volumes, whether to assess project progress and contractor payment claims, demonstrate compliance with the approved Remedial Action Plan, or provide a detailed materials tracking log for site auditing purposes. This all translates into both short & long-term time & cost savings for a project.

What about online mapping tools?

Whilst online aerial mapping tools are becoming more accessible and capable, these can be associated with expensive annual subscriptions that may not suit all businesses. Data coverage is limited to when aerial photography is collected, typically around two months apart...sometimes longer when poor weather prevents data capture from occurring. In many cases this is not frequent enough to provide meaningful comparison between time periods. Site-based low altitude drone technology is not limited to the same extent and achieves much higher resolution data capture as a result of the low flying altitude.

UAV Aerial Mapping, along with a sound strategic plan (hello your dedicated PM from TRACE), can mean the difference between remediation project success or project scope, budget & time blow outs. At a minimum it can take your project from a good outcome to an exceptional one, reducing risk, liabilities, and saving time & money.


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