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Earthworks Software & The Drone Factor

There’s no doubt about it – earthwork software is amazing. When you think back to the process of construction prior to the development of earthworks software, it feels a bit archaic to say the least. While software has transformed our industry, adding drones to the mix can take construction takeoff and earthworks to another level. Here’s a quick look at how drones benefit any construction project.

1. Lower Costs

In the past, if you wanted a bird’s eye view of your construction site, helicopters and small aircraft were your only options, and these were expensive options to say the least. Helicopters still commonly are used for site surveys as their ability to hover at low altitudes make them a solid option, but these can cost between $350 to $800 per hour (or more) to rent.

While quality drones aren’t cheap, once that initial cost is passed, you can use a drone to study your site every day if you need to where it would be cost-prohibitive to get a helicopter up in the area every day. A quality drone could run anywhere from $700 up to as much as $7,000 although you should able to find an option well below that top figure.

2. Convenience & Speed

A drone is always there when you need it. You don’t have to spend time booking a helicopter and flying to a site and then taking pictures. If your aerial photographs aren’t precisely what you need, it’s not exactly convenient (or cost-effective) to just call in the helicopter again and take more pictures. With a drone, you can have it up and surveying the site and sending back quality images in just 15 minutes or less.

In the initial phases of a construction project, a drone can save huge amounts of time. How long does it typically take for surveyors to walk a site and measure? Depending on the size of the site, it can take one or two days for a human to do the work that a drone can accomplish in minutes. Of course, there are going to be some instances where you absolutely want someone on the ground to study the site initially; but using drones can make it easier and faster to monitor progress on a construction site.

3. Improve Safety

With drones, you don’t have to send as many people into the field for surveying tasks, which puts fewer people in jeopardy of injury. After all, it’s not as if all construction sites are perfectly flat parcels, are they?

Additionally, you can use drones to monitor a site during the entire construction process. Even if you are not onsite, you can see if everyone is following proper safety procedures as well as working productively and keeping the project on schedule. If you spy something amiss, you can handle it quickly and fix the issue before injuries occur or projects fall behind schedule.

Drones also are the perfect option for companies working multiple jobs at the same time, as contractors obviously cannot be in two places at once, but drones allow you to keep tabs on every site in near real time.

4. Improve Accuracy

With earthworks software and machine control files, we are able to complete even the largest and most complex projects more accurately than ever before. Add drones to the mix and you increase that level of accuracy even more. Drones can import images directly into an earthworks software program, saving you time and improving accuracy in every stage of the process. You can monitor a site day-to-day easily and make any necessary alterations or fix issues as quickly as possible.

5. Client Communication & Inspections

While clients foot the bill, there’s no getting around the fact that some of them like to visit the site often to monitor progress. Obviously, they have a huge stake in the project and are welcome to head over to a site, but this can cause a delay in progress as everything might halt so that they can walk around and ask questions.

With drones, you can send clients videos and site images as often as they might like, and they can monitor progress remotely. This allows your team to focus on their work without costly interruptions, but still allows the client to feel as though they are informed about every part of the process.

Drones also can be used to monitor every inch of a construction project, even areas that are difficult for inspectors to reach. Not only can you ensure that a project is progressing according to code, using drones allows you complete this process as quickly as possible. The inspection process will be much faster if you use drones on your site.

While we can’t help you select the perfect drone, we can help with one crucial part of the construction process. At dirt estimate specialists, we use several different types of earthwork software to create highly accurate dirt estimates for all types of construction sites, large and small.

We’ve been using earthworks software since the earliest days of its inception, way back in the early 1980s, and our team of experts quickly can provide you with accurate dirt estimates. We can come in at any part of the process, whether you are in the bidding process, the grading process or you need someone to double-check a particularly complex project.

In addition to providing dirt estimates using earthwork software from AGTEK and other top companies, we also can provide you with machine control files for Trimble, Topcon and AGTEK machine control systems. To get started with dirt estimate or machine control project, simply click on the Send Us Work tab on our homepage, give us a call at (800) 765-1717 or email us at