Drones for Land Surveying: A Comprehensive Guide

Drones have become increasingly popular in the surveying industry due to their ability to capture high-resolution images and data from hard-to-reach areas. Surveying with drones is a cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional surveying methods, such as ground-based surveys or manned aerial surveys.

When purchasing a drone for surveying, it’s important to consider factors such as flight time, camera quality, and accuracy of data. Flight time refers to how long the drone can stay in the air before needing to recharge, which is crucial for covering large areas. Camera quality is essential for capturing high-resolution images and videos, which are necessary for producing accurate maps and 3D models. Finally, accuracy of data is important for ensuring that the surveying results are reliable and precise.

We spent countless hours researching and testing various drones for surveying to identify the ones that provide the best value for their price. After careful consideration, we have found that the DJI Phantom 4 RTK is the best drone for surveying due to its advanced features and high-quality data output.

Best Drones For Surveying

As a professional surveyor, I know the importance of having the right tools for the job. And when it comes to surveying large areas of land, there’s no better tool than a drone. Drones not only save time and money, but they also provide accurate and detailed data that can be used to create 3D models, maps, and more. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the best drones for surveying, so you can find the perfect one for your needs.

Holy Stone GPS Drone HS110G

Holy Stone GPS Drone HS110G

I recently got my hands on the Holy Stone GPS Drone HS110G, and I have to say, it’s a pretty solid option for anyone looking to purchase a drone for surveying. Pros

  • GPS Auto Return: The drone is equipped with GPS location, making it easy to set a “HOME” point and have it return automatically if it loses signal or power. Alternatively, you can press the auto-return button to bring it back.
  • Intelligent Features: You can set a custom flight path or have the drone follow you automatically. These features make it easy to get the shots you need without having to worry about controlling the drone’s every move.
  • Upgraded Configuration: The detachable propeller makes the drone easy to carry, and the 2 modular batteries give you a total flight time of up to 26 minutes. Plus, the control range is up to 984ft, giving you plenty of room to work with.

Cons

  • Camera Quality: While the drone comes with a 1080P HD camera, the image and video quality aren’t the best. If you’re looking for high-quality footage, you may want to invest in a better camera.
  • Learning Curve: While the altitude control system is great for beginners, there is still a bit of a learning curve when it comes to mastering the drone’s flight controls. Expect to spend some time practicing before you can get the shots you need.
  • Wind Sensitivity: The drone is a bit sensitive to wind, so you’ll need to be careful when flying in breezy conditions. This can make it difficult to get the shots you need in certain situations.

Overall, I would recommend the Holy Stone GPS Drone HS110G for anyone looking for an affordable option for surveying. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive drones, it gets the job done and is easy to use once you get the hang of it.

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One thing to note is that the camera quality isn’t the best, so if you’re looking for high-quality footage, you may want to invest in a better camera. Additionally, the drone is a bit sensitive to wind, so you’ll need to be careful when flying in breezy conditions. But overall, I think this is a great option for anyone on a budget who needs a reliable drone for surveying.

So if you’re in the market for a new drone, be sure to check out the Holy Stone GPS Drone HS110G!

Sky High Bull’s-Eye

Sky High Bull's-Eye (24

If you’re looking for a high-quality drone ground control point for your mapping and surveying needs, the Sky High Bull’s-Eye is a great option to consider. It’s durable, lightweight, and compatible with many popular photogrammetry reconstruction software. Pros

  • Designed for low to medium altitude drone mapping and scanning
  • Center eyelet design allows for easy identification of the center of the GCP
  • Compatible with most auto-detection software

Cons

  • May not be as cost-effective as creating DIY GCPs
  • Center eyelet may not be perfectly centered on some targets
  • May not be as visible at higher altitudes

As someone who has used the Sky High Bull’s-Eye for my own mapping and surveying projects, I can attest to its durability and ease of use. The center eyelet design is particularly helpful for positioning the aerial target over existing survey nails for precision mapping. Additionally, the weatherproof mesh material is lightweight and highly visible, making it easy to transport and place in the field.

One potential downside to the Sky High Bull’s-Eye is that it may not be as cost-effective as creating DIY GCPs. However, for those who prioritize convenience and reliability, the Sky High Bull’s-Eye is a great investment. Another potential drawback is that the center eyelet may not be perfectly centered on some targets, which could affect the accuracy of your mapping data. Finally, at higher altitudes, the targets may not be as visible as other options.

Overall, I highly recommend the Sky High Bull’s-Eye for anyone in need of a reliable drone ground control point for their mapping and surveying projects. Its compatibility with popular software, lightweight design, and weather-resistant materials make it a great choice for both professionals and hobbyists alike.

Bwine F7 GPS Drones

Bwine F7 GPS Drones

If you’re looking for a high-quality drone that can deliver stunning aerial footage, the Bwine F7 GPS Drones are a great choice. Pros

  • The 4K camera with 3-axis gimbal delivers stunning aerial footage.
  • The drone comes with 3x2600mAh intelligent batteries, offering a total of 75 minutes of flight time per trip.
  • The built-in 1806 brushless motor, compass, gyroscope, barometer, and 6-level wind resistance test report make it easy to fly at high altitudes and in windy conditions.

Cons

  • The video setup can be a bit of a chore, sometimes taking 3 or 4 attempts to lock onto the wifi feed.
  • The steering can be a bit difficult to get used to at first.
  • Beginner mode is limited, but once out of it, the drone supports 3KM transmission and remote control distance.

I recently had the chance to try out the Bwine F7 GPS Drones, and I was thoroughly impressed by their performance. The 4K camera with 3-axis gimbal delivers stunning aerial footage, and the drone’s intelligent batteries offer an impressive 75 minutes of flight time per trip.

But what really sets this drone apart is its ability to fly at high altitudes and in windy conditions. Thanks to the built-in 1806 brushless motor, compass, gyroscope, barometer, and 6-level wind resistance test report, you can fly the F7 GPS drone on a 2000m peak and control it within a range of 3000meters. Even in the thin air or windy day at high altitude, you can still feel its calmness and shoot ultra-clear & stable video and pictures.

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The Bwine F7 GPS Drones also come equipped with GPS, allowing them to automatically return once the battery is low, the signal is lost, or you press the one-key return button. And with the advanced app settings, you can easily share your FPV incredible view with one click via APP, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, etc.

Overall, I would highly recommend the Bwine F7 GPS Drones to anyone in the market for a high-quality drone that can deliver stunning aerial footage.

DJI Air 2S

DJI Air 2S Drone Quadcopter UAV with 3-Axis Gimbal Camera

I recently purchased the DJI Air 2S drone for surveying and I am extremely satisfied with my purchase. It is a great investment for anyone who is looking for a powerful and portable drone that can capture stunning aerial footage with ease.Pros

  • The 1-inch CMOS sensor and large 2.4μm pixels allow for 5.4K/30fps and 4K/60fps video, providing incredible detail and clarity.
  • The FocusTrack feature, which includes Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 4.0, and Point of Interest 3.0, makes it easy to follow or circle your subject, giving you the perfect shot every time.
  • The drone has the ability to perceive its environment in four directions, allowing it to actively avoid obstacles and fly safely, even at high speeds.

Cons

  • The price point is a bit steep, but it is worth the investment if you are serious about aerial photography and videography.
  • The drone can be a bit noisy, which may be a concern if you are trying to capture audio along with your footage.
  • The Fly More Combo includes low-stop ND filters (ND 4/8/16/32), but high-stop ND filters (ND 64/128/256/512) are sold separately.

The DJI Air 2S is incredibly easy to use and the DJI Fly app is intuitive and user-friendly. The drone is lightweight and portable, making it easy to take with you on the go. The 31-minute flight time is impressive and allows you to capture plenty of footage before needing to recharge the battery. The 10-bit Dlog-M color profile is a nice touch and allows for recording up to one billion colors while retaining all the little details that make footage pop.

Overall, I highly recommend the DJI Air 2S for anyone who is serious about aerial photography and videography. It is a powerful and portable drone that can capture stunning footage with ease, and the advanced features make it a breeze to use. If you are willing to invest in a high-quality drone, the DJI Air 2S is definitely worth considering.

DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo

DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo

If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly, ultra-light, and compact drone for surveying, the DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo is a great option. It’s powerful, easy to use, and comes with everything you need to get started.Pros

  • The DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo weighs less than 249 g, making it easy to carry around and fly almost anywhere.
  • The drone’s 3-axis gimbal and 4K camera produce stunning image quality and stable footage, even in windy conditions.
  • The DJI Fly app features intelligent modes, including Panorama, Enhanced Photo, and Imaginative Templates, which make it easy to capture and edit professional-level videos and photos.
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Cons

  • The drone’s battery life is limited to 31 minutes, which may not be enough for longer surveying missions.
  • The drone’s range is limited to 10km, which may not be enough for larger surveying projects.
  • The drone’s 4x digital zoom may not be enough for detailed surveying work.

Overall, the DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo is a great drone for surveying, especially if you’re a beginner or need a compact and lightweight option. Its intelligent modes and easy-to-use app make it a breeze to capture and edit stunning videos and photos, while its powerful performance and stable footage ensure that you get the shots you need. However, if you need longer battery life, greater range, or more advanced surveying features, you may want to consider other options.

Surveying Drone Buying Guide

When it comes to choosing the best drone for surveying, there are several factors to consider. As a professional surveyor, I have used different drones for various projects, and here are some of the features that I look for:

Flight Time

One of the most important factors to consider is the drone’s flight time. You want a drone that can stay in the air for a long time to cover more ground in one flight. The longer the flight time, the more efficient the surveying process will be. Look for drones with a flight time of at least 20 minutes.

Camera Quality

The quality of the camera is also crucial when it comes to surveying. You want a drone with a high-resolution camera that can capture clear and accurate images. Look for drones with at least a 12-megapixel camera and a 4K video resolution.

GPS and Mapping Software

GPS and mapping software are essential features for surveying drones. Look for drones that have built-in GPS and mapping software that can accurately track the drone’s location and create detailed maps of the survey area.

Obstacle Avoidance

Obstacle avoidance is another important feature to consider, especially if you’re surveying in a complex or hazardous environment. Look for drones with obstacle avoidance sensors that can detect and avoid obstacles in the drone’s path.

Portability

Finally, portability is also a crucial factor to consider. You want a drone that is easy to transport and set up, especially if you’re working in remote or hard-to-reach areas. Look for drones that are lightweight and compact, and that come with a carrying case for easy transport.

FeatureIdeal Range
Flight Time20-30 minutes
Camera Quality12-megapixel camera and 4K video resolution
GPS and Mapping SoftwareBuilt-in GPS and mapping software
Obstacle AvoidanceObstacle avoidance sensors
PortabilityLightweight and compact

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