5 Reasons to Use UAVs and Pioneering Use Cases

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Ryan Preston Member Name

Geological Engineer

Do you wonder why it can take weeks or months to get your site imagery data when a drone can deliver diapers to your neighbor’s doorstep within an hour?

Well, we’re here to deliver good news. You can have high-resolution 3D images of current site conditions, cost effectively, and with quick turn-around times. Golder is regularly applying Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology on projects, often in new and innovative ways.

Innovative UAV Applications

From inspection of water supply tunnels in hydroelectric generating stations, to risk assessment of steep and winding highways across mountains, to thermal imaging of underground water inflows and fish habitats, UAVs are providing additional details to drive better designs, risk assessments, construction, maintenance and monitoring.

Golder has employed UAVs for numerous missions across the globe. These surveys have been used to support mine tailings breach assessments, material stockpile quantity estimates, slope stability inspection, general mapping of sites and more.

Here are a few more of our challenging and successful applications:

  • Survey work in underground mines: UAVs carrying lighting packages and onboard imaging provided data used for conducting thermal scans of open voids looking for water inflow, conducting visual inspections of inaccessible or high-risk areas, and creating 3D photogrammetry models.
  • Water sampling in dangerous environments.
  • Maintenance inspection in tunnels: Quadcopter UAVs were able to hover directly under 6-meter-tall (about 18 feet) tunnel crowns, providing critical data.
  • Measurement of erosion in steep cliff overhangs: No need for rappelling cliffs. UAVs have provided exceptional, high resolution photography safely and in less time.
  • Soil excavation surveys: Golder employed UAVs and 3D terrain models for visualization, volume calculations, and virtual site visits for a remediation project in Europe.
  • Tailings breach monitoring and remediation: Following tailings dam breaches in Canada and Brazil, Golder UAVs were used for videography to assist with rehabilitation monitoring and stakeholder communication.
  • Emergency flood monitoring: UAVs provided information on ground conditions during the June 2013 flood in Alberta, Canada, as well as documented conditions pre- and post-construction of bank protection measures.

Commercial UAV use requires trained UAV pilots and, in some countries, involves licensed pilots and, sometimes, special permits. Regulations vary from country to country and from location to location. It’s essential to become a legal UAV operator in your work’s location, or subcontract to a licensed UAV firm.



About the Author

Ryan Preston Member Name

Geological Engineer

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