Arcadis – Civil Engineering
At Coptrz, we know that challenging terrain comes with the territory of surveying, and more often than not access and measuring points are difficult to reach and require time heavy and meticulous planning and operations. Let’s take a look at a case study using drones for surveying…
The recent introduction of drones into the surveying industry has seen UAV’s fast-tracking traditional methods, resulting in easier, faster, safer and cost-effective surveys across the whole industry.
If you are interested in training to become a drone pilot, there is no better time than now. Our fully approved Drone Training and OFQUAL accredited courses will ensure you are fully equipped with all of the knowledge you need to know to fly confidently.
Also, if you are looking for an introduction to drones for surveying, catch up on one of our webinars with industry expert James Pick here:
This week we spoke to Annabelle Randal from Arcadis, to see how the introduction of drone technology has revolutionised the way they carry out surveys.
Before we get started, here is an introduction to Arcadis and the work they carry out:
Arcadis is the leading global Design & Consultancy for natural and built assets. Applying deep market sector insights and collective design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services they work in partnership with their clients to deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes throughout the lifecycle of their natural and built assets.
Arcadis support UN-Habitat with knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world.
Drones for Surveying Case Study: Annabelle Randal, Environmental Consultant at Arcadis
Introduce yourself and your role at Arcadis
“At Arcadis, we focus on design and built assets. I work within the environmental team; my job title is an environmental consultant. We carry out ground investigations for a number of reasons, including environmental permits and planning authority requirements. To do this we drill boreholes into the ground and extract soil and rock for environmental and geotechnical testing. We also carry out groundwater monitoring and testing.”
“I am quite new to the company; I came straight out of university so it’s a really exciting industry to get into. I’m still graduate level so being put in the drone industry has been insane.”
“With the company and the drone, the plan is to use them for topographic surveys to help build up our conceptual site models. When we are showing the client what the land they want to purchase looks like, we are able to show them a to-scale topographic model. We will also be able to film demolitions which is super cool!
It’s not only doing the survey. There is a marketing aspect too, giving your clients something to remember the process by. We may also have the opportunity to do various infrastructure inspections in hard to reach places such as dams and bridges.”
Do you have quite a large drone pilot team?
“Not quite yet – it’s just me! My colleague Roy has been doing the training at the same time as me but unfortunately, his tests have been cancelled due to weather conditions. So, there will be two of us flying drones soon.
“The long-term plan for the senior management team is that we’ll see how it goes and how much interest we get. If it goes well, we’ll train more people in our other offices across the country. We want to have returns at each of our offices, in Leeds, Manchester, Suffolk and Bristol.”
Where did the idea of using drones for surveying come from?
“In order to keep up with our competitors and provide our clients with the best results, our senior leadership team looked into using drones on some of our projects. One of the seniors had been researching drones for a while and had signed up to the Coptrz newsletter. James from Coptrz contacted him to set up a meeting about purchasing a drone. James talked us through the finance options and also the training that is available at Coptrz. At the time, we lacked a lot of knowledge of the industry, and James assured us that we would be supported by Coptrz throughout the purchasing and training process.”
What drones are you flying?
“At the moment we have got an M210, I did all my training using this drone and this will be what we use for our site work. In the New Year, we are hoping to get a Phantom 4RTK, which will be more suited to the topographic work we are doing. We will use the M210 for the building and dam surveying.”
You can check out the DJI Matrice 210 V2 by clicking here.
Did anyone have any reservations about adopting drone technology?
“Generally, people have been excited and interested. Everyone has been looking forward to seeing the drone in action. It has been a long process of buying the drone and getting the training, the lockdown restrictions have slowed it down massively. I think people are eager to see what we have spent all of this money on!”
How did you come about being the drone pilot, was it part of your job description?
“No it wasn’t, however, I’m very grateful to have been chosen for this opportunity. My senior manager gave me a call one day during lockdown and mentioned that there were talks going on about getting a drone and would I want to be the pilot! Of course, I said yes. Being a graduate, I’m still learning. The other guy who is learning, Roy, is a senior consultant so we have a good mix of experience levels.”
How was your training journey at Coptrz?
“It’s been really positive. We came in just as lockdown started, so we’ve had to do everything online which has been a unique experience. Coptrz have done an amazing job of putting everything online, it really works. It was so easy to learn, the webinars really helped me as I would learn the modules and then watch the webinars. So, they solidified everything for me.
“Doing the theory test was really smooth – even on Zoom! I felt really confident going into it and I knew everything that I needed to know in order to pass. Not being able to go to a flight school the first time you fly is weird but I was lucky to do it with Roy so that was helpful! It was a bit nerve-wracking but it’s something you have to do.
“Preparing for the test was pretty straightforward. I did my flight test with Harry and he was really professional and made me feel at ease as I was very nervous. The operations manual was tricky, but Coptrz provide great paperwork and templates so it made things a lot easier.”
Do you have any tips for people who are thinking of training to become a drone pilot?
“For the training part of it, the two things I would say is: ensure you have the time to commit to learning the theory, it doesn’t take that long to be fair! I would also suggest starting the operations manual early, as that is a very long process.
“Finally: if you want it – go for it! It’s another string to your bow, I have a degree for the job I want to do, but I am trained to fly a drone which is something I will always have.”
An update from Annabelle
Having now completed her A2 CofC with Coptrz Academy, we decided to catch up with Annabelle to see how she found the course, how she’s using her new qualification and what’s next for Arcadis.
“I have now completed the A2 CofC with Coptrz along with my colleague to ensure we are covered by the new CAA rules if we need to be. It was very very straight forward and the majority of the learning we had already done through our PfCO. We were already familiar with the online learning platform at Coptrz so found it very easy to navigate our way through the modules and then take the exam at the end. The A2 CofC contains fewer modules and less detailed information than the PfCO and requires less time.
“We still only have one drone, the Matrice 210, so the A2 CofC hasn’t been needed in our operations yet, but we are hoping to acquire some smaller drones to carry out operations that wouldn’t have been feasible with the large Matrice, this is where the A2 CofC will be helpful for us.
“We have now completed a variety of jobs ranging from large scale topographic and volumetric surveys to high-resolution roof inspections. We have plenty more coming up where we’re going to be trying out different drones and payloads to get high-quality data for our clients. We are also hoping to apply for an Operational Safety Case from the CAA which will give us extra permissions and allow us to safely carry out those tricky jobs that are just not doable with our current permissions.”
Are you ready to introduce drones for surveying into your operations?
When it comes to using drones for surveying and inspections, there’s never been a better or easier time to get yourself Drones. Drones are revolutionising the way in which surveyors gather data. They make day-to-day operations faster, safer, and more cost-effective. In fact, we’re seeing more and more case studies showcasing vastly increased efficiency from using a drone solution over traditional methods.
If you’re interested in the idea of drone mapping and UAV surveys to optimise your business, reach out to our expert advisers at Coptrz today. We offer a wide range of drone courses from beginners training to specialised programmes like this one, covering a broad range of industries. You can contact us here to get started or learn more about our training academy by downloading our training brochure.
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