Drone Use Takes Off in Land Surveying

shutterstock_633132635As more and more hobbyists use drones to capture memorable video and photos, commercial uses for unmanned aerial vehicles continues to expand at a rapid rate, from monitoring agricultural crops to crowd control by law enforcement.

Among those emerging commercial uses for drones is land surveying. In its spring newsletter Bulletin, the state Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (Board) outlined the growth of drone use in land surveying based on lower costs and availability of easy-to-use software. But the Board also warned of potential drawbacks—such as upstart companies entering into the unlicensed practice of land surveying.

The Board emphasized that the burgeoning industrial drone market—which will exceed $20 billion globally by 2021, according to an analysis by Deloitte—has spurred a variety of companies offering services that include drone flight planning, piloting, and photography. However, for consumers needing a land surveyor for such things as establishing property lines or elevation analysis data, it’s critical to use the services of licensed land surveyors.

In the spring Bulletin, the Board stated: “No matter how field data are acquired, the process of locating any fixed works designed by a civil engineer or determining alignments or elevations is required by law to be performed by, or under the responsible charge of, persons licensed to perform land surveying.”

Furthermore, the Board said, mapping produced by those who may not have the training, education, and experience of a licensed land surveyor has the potential to put the public at risk through faulty data.

Consumers who need the services of a land surveyor should check that the individual or company they are considering is licensed by the state through the Board’s website, www.bpelsg.ca.gov.

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