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Kiwi surveying firm using drone technology

12 Oct 2015

Large-scale project surveying firm K&N Surveyors recently tried out drone technology and are singing the praises of Raglan-based drone company Aeronavics.

K&N Surveyors specialize in earthworks, civil construction works, structural projects, bridge and flyover works, and aerial mapping. The company purchased an Aeronavics BOT.

K&N Surveyors data manager Hamish Reeve took on the job of chief pilot, and used the BOT and the resulting data collected for a range of aspects within the company.

“We made the decision to purchase the BOT after extensive research into the technology,” explains Reeve. “We realised that as a company we had to remain competitive within the market and a drone would give us this advantage,” he says.

Reeve says cost and quality were main factors within the company’s choice of UAV.

“We wanted to ensure that the product was affordable and that we had access to servicing when required. We chose to go with Aeronavics due to their competitive prices, quality products and history within the industry,” he says.

Reeve says the BOT allows him to provide data that hasn’t previously been available.

“The aerial view gives an active update; so all parties involved in the design, surveying and building can see the process as it evolves. Once clients have received the first images, they want more,” he explains.

“The biggest use of the technology relates to the planning and modifications to design using the 2D images,” says Reeve. “I can measure these against CAD drawings and plot works in no time. Previously I had worked with 3D models that only displayed lines in black space. The aerial view now gives context and allows all parties involved to be able to see the project as it grows.”

He says the drone means tedious and time-consuming jobs can now be undertaken quickly and efficiently. “An example of this is end of month volume counts,” Reeve says. “Previously this would have been a manual job, where a 5km project would have taken one person roughly four days. Now this same size project can be completed in less than a day, saving a huge amount of man-hours and increasing efficiency.”

Another benefit of using the drone is safety within the workplace, Reeve adds.

“The BOT aids in collecting data in dangerous or not easily accessible areas such as areas of coastal protection rock. Safety is key in such an environment, and the Aeronavics craft helps us to keep everyone on site out of harms way,” he says.

“Having our Aeronavics BOT is a major drawcard for future projects. Third party drone companies charge between $5k-$20k per project, which is a cost that is often transferred to the client,” Reeves continues. “We currently run one fly through per month per project and, as we own the craft, we can keep our costs lower whilst increasing our efficiency.

“K&N Surveyors are now considered a full package company that can offer an all-in-one service. The drone is a really valuable tool across the company making jobs a lot easier and more efficient,” he says.

“They say a picture paints a thousand words – the images we capture from the BOT tell us everything.”

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