Frequently Asked Questions

What Is UAV Photogrammetry?

UAV photogrammetry is a means of generating 3D representations with remarkable precision using digital images captured by a camera mounted beneath an unmanned aerial vehicle, most often a drone. Downloaded into photogrammetry software, the data can then be used to create detailed maps and models for engineers, architects, city planners, or contractors. Among its many applications, UAV photogrammetry can be used for quality control, construction verification, damage assessment, accident investigation, flood control planning, and infrastructure inspection.

In one brief flight millions of accurate survey data points can be collected, reducing project time from weeks to days, and the exhaustive amount of data collected generally eliminates the need for repeated trips to the survey site. Pilots stay safely earthbound and out of the way of hazards such as construction work, traffic, or rough terrain. Finally, our drone surveying experts can deliver data in any CAD, non-CAD, 2D and/or 3D format you require.

What is an ALTA survey?

An ALTA survey is conducted by a state-licensed professional land surveyor in compliance with standards set by the American Land Title Association, an organization overseeing the title insurance trade.

Of interest to title companies, insurers, and lenders in both residential and commercial transactions, ALTA surveys provide more detail than a simple boundary survey. Often commissioned in order to provide due diligence, ALTA surveys document utilities and improvements to the property as well as any plottable encumbrances affecting the site that are referenced in a current title commitment at the time of the survey. Our survey maps meet a uniform set of national standards that ensure the client, title company, and lender will receive a survey containing the required information necessary to issue title insurance and/or fund a commercial real estate loan.

What Are As-Builts in Construction?

As-built surveys provide maps and models of existing structures for reference. They can be helpful both during construction and upon completion. As-built surveys generated at different points in the construction process are used to monitor progress and detect structural deficiencies or variances. A final as-built survey offers a means of construction verification as well as detailed images necessary for future modifications. Field work is completed within days, saving time and money. Data is collected at safe distances with non-intrusive and non-destructive LiDAR methodologies--no work stoppage required. Our as-built surveys are highly accurate; average tolerance is set at 4-6 mm (0.25 inches). Tighter tolerances including submillimeter accuracy are also possible depending on your needs.

How Are Drones Used in Surveying?

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), with cameras mounted beneath produce millions of data points from safer distances and at lower costs than were possible with traditional methods of surveying. Drones flying a grid pattern or using waypoints over the targeted area take overlapping photographs that, when entered into specialized software programs, produce highly accurate measurements. The data can be used to create a variety of precise maps and models with applications for many professions, including construction, engineering, mining, city planning, law enforcement, infrastructure, and flood control. Whether you need to get an as-built survey in order to expand a hospital wing, gather data on the efficiency of your solar panel field, create a floodplain simulation, or obtain measurable orthomosaic photographs of a golf course, drone surveys deliver solutions.

What Is Subsurface Mining Surveying?

Subsurface mining surveying provides precise maps and models of tunnels, shafts, and other underground assets. Subsurface surveys using the latest 3D scanning technology allow professionals to work from a safe distance. The collected data can be used in combination with specialized software to generate maps and models used for structural health assessments, renovations, clash detection, change detection, geologic mapping, and seismic movement detection and monitoring Mining surveys also enable construction monitoring.

What Are As-Builts?

As-builts are detailed maps and models of every part of a structure. 3D laser scanning technology makes the process fast, safe, and efficient, and as-builts are critical in keeping construction costs in line. Imagine not having accurate as-builts of an existing structure and finding out on construction day that costly changes need to be made because clashes in plumbing, HVAC, and utility lines were not accounted for. As construction progresses, as-builts give your whole team eyes on the project; everyone can receive the same measurement data at the same time. Once completed, the final as-built survey enables construction verification and provides an accurate model to consult when future modifications occur.

Thermal Imaging

How does thermal imaging work?

A specialized infrared camera senses thermal energy (heat).  The thermal image, coupled with georeferenced data (latitude, longitude and elevation) allow the creation of a thermal map of a building, rooftop HVAC systems, solar panels, battery containment sites and more.

Can thermal imaging penetrate walls?

The thermal imaging does not technically penetrate a wall.  However, heat that is behind a wall can cause the wall itself to heat up, which, in turn, can be measured with a thermal imaging sensor.

Is thermal imaging used for mapping objects below ground level?

Only to the extent that the object below the ground is emitting enough heat to change the surface temperature and therein create a heat signature.

What does thermal imaging allow me to “see”?

The change in temperature based on thermal energy (heat).

What does thermal imaging allow me to “see”?

The change in temperature based on thermal energy (heat).

How accurate is thermal imaging?

The accuracy depends upon the camera.  The typical accuracy for UAV thermal imaging is approximately one degree Fahrenheit at one pixel per inch.

Do atmospheric conditions affect thermal imaging?

Yes.  If a roof top is 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the surrounding outside temperature is also 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the image will have insufficient contrast to show a meaningful thermal image.   In other words, some temperature contrast between the air temperature and the object creates the best thermal imaging.  The object can be hotter or cooler than its surroundings.

Land Surveying with Drones

How are drones used by land surveyors?

A drone collects aerial data for topographic features and high resolution photography of existing conditions.

Can drone surveys be completed in any weather?

Most drones used for land surveying do best in winds less than 15 mph.   These drones are normally not fully weatherproof, so most pilots avoid flying when there is even light rain, in order to protect the electrical components on the drone and its sensors.

How long does it take to complete a survey using a drone?

The timing depends on the size of the project.  Approximately one thousand acres can be flown in a single day, with ease with certain fixed wing drones.  In the best of conditions, that can be doubled.

What are the advantages of drone surveying?

Drone surveys provide measurable 3D data on every square foot of land coupled with high resolution true color aerial imagery.  Conventional land surveys only provide data on a very limited number of points, then use extrapolation to interpret the land in between the points.

What deliverables are offered

True color orthomosaic images that are approximately 10x better than Google Earth; 1-2 foot AutoCAD contour lines superimposed on the orthomosaic image and available as a standalone; thermal imaging; photographs and videos that are geolocated and repeatable.

ALTA Surveys Arizona

What is an ALTA survey?

An ALTA survey is the gold standard for land surveys.   This type of survey ensures land and title professionals adhere to the American Land Title Association and National Society of Professional Surveyors national standards.

How Does One Create an ALTA Survey?

A surveyor and their crew research the property records including the existing legal description of boundaries, easements and other encumbrances to the property.  They then visit the site and locate survey monuments used to measure the exact distances of location of property boundaries, easements, encumbrances, location of buildings, fences and other improvements, location of public infrastructure such as fire hydrants, streetlights and more.  The surveyor uses their measurements to create a map and legal description of the boundaries of a parcel, comparing their measurements to the property’s existing legal description (provided by the title company). If there are any discrepancies between the two reports, the surveyor will indicate them. A surveyor’s detailed notes on the ALTA map dictate the legal description of a property. The final deliverable includes a complete, thorough, and detailed survey that gives title insurance companies and surveyors all the information they need to complete their jobs.

What does an ALTA survey show?

The location of boundaries of the property, easements, encumbrances, location of buildings, fences and other improvements, location of public infrastructure such as fire hydrants, streetlights and other items related to the built environment.

How is an ALTA survey different from a traditional boundary survey?

The ALTA is more detailed than a conventional boundary survey in that it also shows improvements inside of the property boundary that a traditional boundary survey would not typically include.

Do I need an ALTA survey for commercial property?

The sale of commercial property is what normally triggers an ALTA.

Is it necessary to get an ALTA survey on property for industrial development?

Financial institutions that fund industrial development often require an ALTA.  If a financial institution does not request this level of detail, it is still prudent because it avoids construction in easements and other land use conflicts.

Who can complete an ALTA survey?

Only a licensed professional land surveyor can perform an ALTA.

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