Innovations in land surveying equipment represented by a white drone flying above a city

Innovations in Land Surveying Equipment: What's New This Year?

The integration of new-age technology is slowly seeping into land surveying, as new types of equipment become standard with each day. Traditional methodologies are constantly being reshaped in favor of enhanced project efficiency. Once, GPS/GNSS accessories as well as total stations were viewed as advanced pieces of technology. Now they have become standard tools in every surveyor’s arsenal.

Innovations in land surveying equipment now range from laser scanning to advanced geospatial data analytics and drone-based mapping. And it does not stop there. As the world around us develops so are the ways that help land surveying easier for professionals becoming much more complex.

However, the more advanced it becomes the easier it gets for people to eventually implement in standard practices. The future of surveying is now! we are here to discuss the latest innovations in land surveying and what other fabulous pieces of equipment we might expect to see used.

The Need for Digitalization in Land Surveying

Before the digital age started, surveyors used the good ol’ method of recording data manually with the help of transits and theodolites. It was extremely slow, but very accurate nonetheless. But by incorporating modern, digital equipment we did not only get better efficiency in data integration. We also got better precision and lower costs.

Compared to a surveyor from about 20 years ago, a modern professional packs tools like GPS systems with satellite imaging, drones to determine boundary lines and complex 3D scanners. With the help of digitized equipment, they are able to perform such surveys as as-built surveys, mining surveys, and even hydrographic waterway surveys, something that has not been possible in the past.

The main advantage of digitalization is being able to share electronic versions of property surveys. These come in handy in real estate transactions as, for instance, it allows real estate agents to provide up-to-date info on the property they are selling.

Basically, with various types of added needs that we get in today’s society, the equipment used in a survey is going to become more advanced to provide accurate measurements, easy-to-access info, and reliable sources for everybody involved.

Technology Solutions for Digital Land Surveying

As industries continue to accept innovations, so will land survey equipment and their uses become more modern. Cutting-edge technologies are being brought in to enhance accuracy and efficiency to benefit the overall project's success.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Remote Sensing

Officially called unmanned aerial vehicles, but most of us like to call them drones. These nifty little thingies have revolutionized the way people conduct land surveying. They come with LiDAR sensors and high-resolution cameras which lead to you being able to capture detailed aerial imagery and collect precise data points. The results come in much faster compared to traditional surveying methods.

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)

GNSS/GPS technology has become an irreplaceable tool of modern survey equipment. With the help of satellite-based systems, are are able to receive accurate positioning data. Allowing you to establish very precise control points. GPS survey equipment is also able to improve surveying efficiency, enhance the overall accuracy of gathered data, and bring human errors to a minimum.

3D Laser Scanning

With the help of 3D laser scanning, surveyors have been able to get more detailed information about the terrain and the environment they are working on. The way it works is by emitting laser beams and then measuring the reflections received back. With the aim of creating precise 3D point clouds that depict the surveyed area in high resolution. This type of technology also allows surveyors to capture very complex structures and generate pinpoint digital terrain models. Additional types of applications include urban planning, infrastructure development, and archeological preservation. 

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

The inclusion of geographic information systems within land surveying allows professionals to visualize the collected data in a spatial context. It enables them to overlay the surveyed data with various geographical layers. This includes property boundaries, infrastructure networks, topography, etc. This results in surveyors being able to make informed decisions, provide valuable pieces of information to their clients, or simply identify spatial patents. 

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

One of the more recent and most captivating innovations in land surveying equipment is the inclusion of augmented reality and virtual reality. It actually offers various possibilities when it comes to data visualization and project planning. With the help of AR and VR technology, professionals can simply overlay the surveyed data onto a real-world or a virtually generated environment That way they can simulate design scenarios, provide an immersive experience, or simply convey their ideas to project teams and their clients in a much more comprehensive way.

Data Capture and Modelling

The areas where we should expect the most advancements are in data capture and modeling. These types of surveying equipment also allow for the formation of larger and more detailed databases faster than before. Therefore, what we may expect from the future are much more advanced capture methods as opposed to traditional manual techniques.

Automation and Robotics

A major shift when it comes to land survey equipment is the use of robotics and turning towards automation. Here, the latest pieces of technology involve the use of robotic total stations or GPS rover equipment. Incorporating robotics generally allows the work of a surveyor to become more efficient and productive. Also, machine learning and artificial intelligence are major parts that should help speed things up even more, especially when it comes to tasks that consume too much time like feature extraction, point cloud classification, and topographic mapping. AI in particular can help algorithms streamline certain processes.

Remote Working and Digital Collaboration Tools

Remote working possibilities are also becoming a factor in land surveying. With the help of cloud-based collaboration tools, surveyors are able to share info during projects and provide deliverables faster across different teams. Not only that but with the help of GPS and spatial network technologies, professionals are able to collect survey-grade data remotely. It all results in distributed and more flexible working arrangements.  

Advantages of Technology in Land Surveying

The future of land surveying is looking bright, especially with all the innovations being adopted within it. While the advantages of incorporating advanced pieces of technology are clear to most, with speed, efficiency, and accuracy being the obvious ones, a lot of people forget about some less obvious benefits.

What you can’t forget is that land surveying is an outdoor activity. No matter how many pieces of technology you throw at it, for the most part, you still have to go out in the field to finish the job. This is where the prioritization of surveying safety and using rugged pieces of equipment comes into play. 

The equipment that you are using has to be built to withstand various kinds of weather conditions. You have to account for all factors if you are to get accurate data. Advancements in technology help to create better surveying equipment which guarantees results in all kinds of environments.

Also, cyber security is becoming an increasing risk factor in land surveying. Protecting data in the modern age is a must and incorporating leading security and privacy measures is something that surveyors have to think of as well. One of the ways to do this is by introducing biometrics identification, especially when it comes to mission-critical data.

Overcoming Barriers to Adoption

Land surveying has been around for a long time and historically has been a profession with a long-lasting legacy. The list of surveying instruments used throughout the years is long and used with the aim of producing the most accurate measures. But all of those tools went through an evolution period, gradually aiming towards perfection and producing better results.

Digitalization in land surveying was not accepted in kindness at first by most traditional professionals. However, nobody wanted them before. Evolution is oftentimes mistaken for revolution. This is how many of those see the innovations in land surveying seen today. 

Digitalization and innovation in land surveying involve much more than introducing new pieces of tech. It could involve rethinking and then reorganizing how certain processes work. But for this to happen, a lot of surveying professionals need to come together. While the adoption of technology is happening fast, it may still require some time for some parts to transition to new tech completely.

However, the results that we see today certainly make us think that it will happen soon. There is no way of outrunning development. It need acceptance. And the sooner those barriers are broken to closer we will get to adoption.  

Innovations in Land Surveying Equipment FAQ

Find a few more intriguing pieces of information about innovations within land surveying right below.

What are the latest innovations in surveying?

Perhaps the most recent innovation in land surveying is the adoption of LiDAR technology. However, there are more like the introduction of GNSS/GPS technology, GIS, AR and VR, as well as the implementation of AI.

What is the future of surveying technology?

The future the surveying technology comes with the addition of drones, GPS, and laser scanning tech. However, AI, AR, and VR are also just around the corner.

What are the modern technologies for land surveying?

Some of the modern tech that surveyors use in land surveying include CAD, GIS, and mapping software.

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