The Aerial Perspective Blog

Geospatial Intelligence Constructs Better Planning for Engineers

One of the keys to successful engineering and construction is having a clear understanding of where objects are in relation to each other. This includes the distance between buildings and other structures, geologic features, trees, and more. Engineers use this information when planning to determine where to put foundation elements and what their specifications must be.

There are many ways to gather this information, from surveying in the field to aerial imagery and everything in between.

What is geospatial intelligence?

Geospatial intelligence is essentially the collection of imagery intelligence and geospatial information engineers and other professionals use to define the characteristics and locations of features on earth. Data can be collected both from the ground through surveying and from the air. The right approach will depend on the end goals and scale of the project. In many cases, both types of data are valuable and may even be necessary.

Decision makers use the data gathered through geospatial intelligence combined with other data to paint a complete picture of the limitations and opportunities present in a particular project, whether it’s for construction, agriculture, or insurance. Ultimately, having access to this type of actionable intelligence allows engineers to make better and more informed decisions.

How does geospatial intelligence support public civil works planning?

Accurate measurements are essential in any type of engineering. Geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) provides this information in a range of use cases.

Structural

Plan for construction and evaluate existing structures with site analysis techniques such as surveying and drone mapping. Engineers can overlay imagery with 3D models, zoning maps, protected areas, and more to make informed decisions about site placement and structure orientation. 

Civil

Geospatial data is also used in civil engineering for road planning and logistics and analysis of traffic flow. Overlay images with data from other sources, such as demographic information, flood projections, planned changes, and so on.   

Environmental

Engineers and other professionals incorporate GEOINT data to inform environmental impact assessments, natural disaster response, and stormwater pollution prevention plans. Field data and remote sensing can be used to measure and monitor soil quality, invasive species, and other environmental factors that may impact a project. As with other applications, the data can be merged with other intelligence sources to support more informed decisions and make plans or predictions for natural disasters.

How do drones contribute to geospatial intelligence?

Geospatial intelligence is gathered in a number of ways, including from geographic information systems, databases, GPS coordinates, data collected in the field, and much more. However, no matter what tools are used to gather information, recent images and remote sensing are essential for providing an accurate depiction of the current conditions of a site.

Modern Efficiencies

Before the advent of drones, the only way to gather imagery and data from above was to take photos and videos from an elevated position, aircraft, or satellite. However, cranes or other nearby high points have limitations, flying an aircraft is expensive, and satellite imagery is not always accessible. Weather might also play a role in the ability to gather aerial imagery from aircraft or satellites.

Drones provide a more affordable and accessible means for gathering geospatial intelligence. They can be quickly deployed and are also able to fly below cloud cover and in a broader range of weather conditions. 

Exploration of the Unknown

Drone technology makes it easier than ever to get a complete picture of a previously unexplored area, including accurate measurements for geospatial intelligence. Detailed maps can be created without ever stepping foot on the site. With just a single drone flight, engineers can easily collect enough data and aerial imagery to support project success.

Smaller Footprint

With drones, accurate, actionable intelligence can be gathered with virtually no environmental footprint. This is particularly important in sensitive areas where access is limited or challenging. This benefit also helps reduce the cost of gathering data because there is no need to rent equipment and compliance with environmental regulations is less onerous.  

Robust Data

In addition to imagery, a variety of sensors can be employed to gather specific types of data. When combined with software that provides measurements and analysis, engineers have a wealth of information at their fingertips.

Data Sharing

More data equals more informed decisions. When working across teams or groups with multiple stakeholders and consultants, having geospatial intelligence readily available improves efficiency. Being able to share and compile data from different types of geospatial professionals and multiple intelligence sources enhances collaboration and improves business outcomes

Professional Opportunity

In addition to the technical benefits, employing drones can also help support career development and progression for engineers. Embracing the latest technology can help you advance your career and contribute to company success. 

Use Mapware to gather geospatial intelligence.

Geospatial intelligence professionals and engineers can use Mapware and Mapware Fly to gather and analyze data, share information with project stakeholders, and simplify workflows among teams. No matter what type of engineering—structural, civil, and more—drones can be employed to gather accurate data, improve efficiency, and enhance outcomes.
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