Earth, News, Science, Technology

6 Advances In Surveying Technology 

Surveying Technology

Every field has benefited from advancements in technology through the years, and surveying is no exception. Thus, if you’re a civil or structural engineer, you need to leverage surveying technology in your industry to boost your competitive advantage. You can use this technology to improve the accuracy of your processes, such as mapping, documentation, and preparing condition plans. 

For instance, if you’re planning to undertake a road dilapidation survey, you should have the right technology to carry out the task effectively. Some municipalities still have records that are long overdue for an update. In such a case, you need to survey every road and record the utility signs, names of shops, and other roadside assets. After you’ve collected all the necessary data, you should generate a road dilapidation report detailing the condition of the road’s surface, such as the extent of damage (potholes and cracks) and the condition of the white lines.  

Continue reading to keep you in the loop concerning modern surveying technology. 

1. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) And Satellites 

For more than a decade now, GPS has taken the field of survey processes to another level. You can use surveys for mapping and modeling. The advantages of GPS are improved productivity, faster information delivery, and fewer limitations. Unlike traditional survey methods, GPS is a game-changer that experts use to provide accurate information inexpensively.  

It’s believed that one individual using GPS equipment for their output can be equivalent to a traditional survey crew. GPS technology is also constantly developed to improve its accuracy. This technology’s evolution aims to develop potent hardware and software containing better specifications.  

2. 3D Laser Scanners

This new technology is also referred to as 3D laser imaging, 3D laser surveying, 3D laser scanning, or high-definition surveying. You can use this technology to create 3D models and other types of maps. In addition, 3D laser scanning can be applied in historical preservation, monitoring the progress of your construction works, and surveying hard-to-reach areas.  

3. Drones  


Silhouette of drone flying above city at sunset


Drone technology has been in use for decades now. However, it wasn’t adopted in surveying and remote sensing until recently. Effective drones need to have lightweight digital cameras with high-resolution power. Likewise, they should be powered by lightweight lithium polymer batteries to reduce their weight significantly. Generally, surveying drones fitted with all requirements are pretty costly.  

In most cases, drones are preferred in areas that are difficult to access because of terrain, unfavorable weather conditions, or hazardous waste sites.  

4. Deep Tows 

Surveying in large water masses needs tailored technology that can’t be affected by water contact. As a result, deep tows are used for surveying deep ocean floors. A deep tow is an autonomous underwater vehicle. The gadgets are fitted with cameras or sonar and pulled at low speed on the seafloor using thousands of meter-long cables. Deep tows are mostly used to search for vessels that sink in the sea, such as flights.  

5. Digital Twin Technology 

A digital twin is one of the most recent technologies in the surveying industry. It’s a virtual representation of natural objects. You can constantly update the virtual picture of real things using real-time data as the physical objects they represent change. The digital twin also uses machine learning and simulation in the decision-making process.  

You can update digital twin information using drones or sensors to capture the current status of working conditions of actual objects such as infrastructure assets. As a result, you can set your entire object on a tablet or a web browser. You can use digital twin technology to know the status, generate insight, and perform analysis that can help you optimize and predict the performance of your assets.  

Civil engineers can first construct by digital means before moving on to physical construction. Besides, you can plan maintenance activities of your structures and reduce the chances of risks before doing your project in the real world.  

Moreover, digital twin software leverages machine learning to visualize your objects from multiple scenarios and compare design alternatives. Contextualization and visualization lead to accuracy in decision-making and better engagement with stakeholders throughout a project’s development.  

6. Automatic Feature Extraction 

This is an excellent technology powered by artificial intelligence to annotate and extract features on streets and roads automatically. Hence, there is no need to write the names of all businesses or the words on road signages. This technology helps you save money and time in the long run.  

Final Thoughts 

The work of surveyors has now become lighter than decades ago. Surveying technology helps you save time, improves accuracy, and works on complex building projects. Thus, if you’d like to take your profession to another level, leverage digital twin technology, drones, deep tows, 3D laser scanners, and GPS.  

Author Bio: Andrew Perez is an engineering major currently interning with a surveying discipline group. He is also a guest contributor on several blogs where he shares his field knowledge. He is also a coffee enthusiast and loves to bike on the weekend.

More on this topic:

Technology Paves the Way for Smoother Construction Management

Previous ArticleNext Article