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Drone Surveys

11.15.21

Superior Dirt Work Starts in the Sky

Every MJE project begins in the sky. Our two-person survey team includes Drone operator Abe Driedger, Jr., and our boots-on-the-ground stake/ATV surveyor Edgar Andazola. It is this initial drone survey data that drives the rest of the team and project forward. This cyclical survey process allows our team precise and accurate information at vital points throughout the project. 

SET THE PERIMETER

Step one – Set the perimeter. Usually, between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, when the sun is in the best overhead position, Abe arrives at the job site to begin the drone survey. The first step is to get an accurate lay of the land. Then, using GPS technology, Abe plugs in the area he needs to survey and lets the drone get to work. 

Before drone surveys, manual staking surveys used to take nearly a full day to complete. Our high-tech drone is not only accurate but fast, too. Depending on the size of the area, what once took 8 hours to survey using traditional methods can now be done in only 2 hours using the drone. Edgar also begins performing a survey using the standard stake & 4-wheeler method that he will bring back to the office later as an added measure of accuracy.

Once the initial flight is complete, Abe will take the massive files from the micro-sd card and upload the files to the Propellor software platform. Then, with a fast internet connection, the data can be accessed through the web portal in a matter of hours by the staff back at headquarters.

“I love flying drones, and I love technology. The whole thing feels futuristic…and my shoes stay a lot cleaner these days.”

Abe Driedger, Jr., Surveyor

ASSESS THE DATA

Once the drone survey data is uploaded, our design team begins the work of interpreting the data. Each survey collects two data types – elevation data and topographical image data. Ryan Asbridge, a 3D AutoCad draftsman, uses the information to create designs incorporating client needs with efficient construction processes. For example, the bird’s eye view allows him to design projects that make the most efficient use of existing topography, saving clients money.

ESTIMATE THE PROJECT

MJE is known for accurate estimates and bids. Once Ryan has developed a project plan, our estimation team begins creating a project bid. Jill Wahl (senior estimator) or Heather Jantz (chief operations officer) have years of experience. They use the data collected from the survey and the design to develop a comprehensive estimation of project costs. 

Our survey, design, and estimation process is structured to minimize changes that could cost client’s money and time. 

FORECASTS & HINDSIGHT

Cyclical drone flights throughout our projects have improved the accuracy of our bidding and our earthwork. Throughout the construction process, Abe completes weekly drone surveys on nearly every project. Project managers assess the completed earthwork and make adjustments quickly to ensure a project stays on time and budget. 

Survey-driven, accurate weekly progress reports equip stakeholders and project managers with decision-making power if changes arise during the project. In addition, weekly flights allow the estimation team to review and analyze budgets throughout the project. Analyzation of how and why changes are needed improves the design and estimation processes for the future.

“Their team is loaded with professional people that offer fresh ideas and work hard to give us what we want.” 

Scott Ball, Deer Creek Feeding

CONCLUSION 

MJE is a company in motion. We are never content to “do things as they’ve always been done” and are always looking for ways to improve our services. Success for MJE means satisfied clients who return to MJE every time for major construction projects. 

We are always willing to go the extra mile to ensure our projects are built to exact specifications. Drone technology allows us to pivot quickly when changes arise and make data-driven decisions that keep projects moving forward in the most cost-effective way possible.

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