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How Technology Is Enhancing the Surveying Profession

Written by: RICS Recruit
Published on: 17 Sep 2019


Over the past several years, technology has continued to drive innovation in a wide variety of different trades. With many sectors embracing simulated environments and automation, the surveying practice continues to be affected by the influence of new software and equipment.

But which emerging trends are impacting the industry most? With this question in mind, let’s look at the three significant technologies in the surveying profession…



Firstly, the surveying industry has seen a significant growth in the use of drone related technology. This is because, by making use of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), surveyors can now conduct their day-to-day tasks with relative ease and increased efficiency, as well as gather useful information for future consideration.

More specifically, the mobility and verticality of these UAVs have allowed surveyors to inspect areas that have previously been deemed unsafe for access. Not only reducing the risk of personal injury for many inspectors, but also providing a cost-effective solution to a previously time-consuming task. By making use of the device’s autonomous controls, a surveyor can program a drone to automatically take a large aerial map of a site, before returning to its original location and uploading the material to a secure sever. This increased mobility and automation not only saves time during the actual inspection, but also allows the surveyor to collect several high-resolution images of these locations for future reference. In some cases, these images can even be collated into detailed, photorealistic 3D maps of the area. Meaning that the data can be interpreted via a highly accurate visual that not only reduces the need for excessive jargon, but also the risk of potential discrepancies or inconsistencies.

The benefits of Drones in the surveying industry has become so prevalent that some firms have even begun to host Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses on their uses. However, it should also be noted that, under the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) a restricted or full NQE (National Qualified Entities) is now required for any type of commercial drone use.


Artificial Intelligence

These benefits can also be seen in several new technologies that are being driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI). This includes Building Information Modelling (BIM), a system which involves creating a comprehensive digital description that will be worked on collaboratively, throughout each stage of the project. These precise 3D models contain a wealth of data relating to every physical and functional element of the build. Concerning AI, the ability to incorporate machine learning with qualities of human intelligence has already began to infiltrate these systems. For instance, the analysis of large quantities of data has several practical applications for quality control assessments. More specifically, by utilising theoretical techniques, AI can successfully optimise the process and effectively account for any logistically issues well in advance. Resulting in significant savings being made once the project finally reaches the building phase.

When it comes to surveying, the combination of AI and BIM has several major implications for the profession. By automating many of their core responsibilities, surveyors will find that BIM enables them to more effectively conduct their day-to-day work. For example, the ability to access a shared 3D visualization of the site assists in their analysis and control over the process.


Augmented Reality

What’s more, when these 3D visualizations are combined with augmented reality (AR), they can also make effective resources for the reference and/or training of surveyors. More specifically, the use of AR can allow clients to see a realistic rendering of a building or space, prior to its actual construction. A practice that can be especially beneficial to the surveyors who are assessing future developments or cases where certain repair works have been proposed but not yet completed.

In addition, a handful of firms are also exploring the potential of AR during the training process. By allowing prospective surveyors to view a real-time simulated environment, they hope to improve the efficiency and speed at which many trainees successfully complete their inductions.

White Horse Surveyors are the UK’s largest independent, residential surveying company. Originally established in 2006, our wide network of RICS regulated surveyors now service much of England, Scotland and Wales. Our products include: RICS Homebuyer Reports, RICS Building Surveys, Private Valuations and Home Reports for Scottish Property.