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Interested in the benefits of drone construction surveying software?
That’s an excellent market with many opportunities to be explored.
According to a study done by Grand View Research, “The global commercial drone market size is anticipated to reach USD 129.23 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 56.5% over the forecast period.”
Let’s see what benefits you can enjoy by developing a drone construction surveying software.
How drones can help in the construction industry
There are various ways in which drones can help in the construction industry, e.g.:
- Land surveys are easier with drones.
- Drones can help with mapping a construction site.
- Construction project teams can use drones to inspect construction sites.
- Building surveys are easier with drones.
- Construction project managers can monitor on-site activities using drones.
- Security surveillance of construction sites is easier with drones.
- Construction businesses can provide visual materials for communicating with their clients and employees with the help of drones.
You can read more about these use cases in “An aerial view of the future – drones in construction”.
How popular is drone construction surveying software in the construction business?
Several market observers have pointed out the demand for drones in the construction industry, e.g.:
- An Adroit Market Research report identifies the construction industry as a key driver for the growth in the market of drones.
- ResearchAndMarket, a market research organization has stated that construction and agriculture are two key sectors behind the growing demand for drones.
- A Grand View Research report has highlighted the improved accuracy of surveys that the construction industry has noticed after using drone technology.
Regulations concerning drones
While drones can add a lot of value to your construction business, you need to keep in mind that drone-related accidents are common. You can read about such high-profile accidents in “17 drone disasters that show why the FAA hates drones”.
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Given this risk of accidents, and the risk that drones might capture images in an unauthorized manner, regulators have swung into action! When you use drones for your construction business, you need to study the relevant regulations carefully.
You need to understand several regulatory aspects, e.g.:
- Registering your drone with the appropriate authorities;
- How high can you fly your drone;
- Avoiding sensitive installations;
- Steering clear of emergency response efforts.
You can read more about these aspects in “Drone regulations: what you need to know”.
Drone-related regulations vary from country to country, therefore, I recommend that you consult the Global Drone Regulations Database.
The commercial use of drones is relatively new, therefore, regulations are evolving, e.g., the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US has recently changed the regulations related to drones. Keep yourself up-to-date about these changes.
Which technical features should you offer in the drone construction surveying app?
You have likely thought of a few functional features when you plan to incorporate drones into your construction business, e.g., you might use them for surveying the construction site. Keep in mind that you need the required technical features too, e.g.:
- The drone surveying platform should allow high and low-level flight control.
- You will need telemetry and sensor drone survey data, moreover, the drone should ideally avoid obstacles.
- The drone surveying platform should allow you to control the camera, moreover, you should get live video feeds.
- Your team will also need remote access to drone data stored on the camera.
- The platform should allow you to configure flying missions.
- You need timely information about the battery, remote controller, etc.
Read “What is a drone: main features & applications of today‘s drones” to learn more about these technical features.
Building a drone app for your construction business
Let‘s review the steps to create a drone construction surveying app for your construction business, and these are as follows:
1. Define the project scope
You need to first onboard a project manager (PM), an IT architect, and business analysts (BAs), subsequently, they need to define the project scope. The IT architect should have the appropriate AWS solutions architect certification. I recommend the following scope:
- Functional features according to your business requirements;
- Technical features like flight control, camera management, configuring flying missions, etc.
You should build the app for the Windows platform, moreover, the app should work with Android and iOS platforms.
2. Choose the right SDLC model
A drone app for the construction business will have a set of well-defined requirements, moreover, a strategic project like this needs thorough reviews after every key milestone.
I recommend that you use the Waterfall SDLC model for this project, and you can learn about it in “What is software development life cycle and what you plan for?”.
3. Agree on a development approach
I recommend the following approach for this project:
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- Use managed cloud services like Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) so that you don‘t need to manage the infrastructure.
- You should also consider using a Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS) platform so that you don‘t need to develop and manage the mobile backend.
- Use a drone app development kit to expedite the project.
- Enhance test coverage using a test automation aid.
You can read “What is the best development approach to guarantee the success of your app?” to understand the importance of this approach.
4. Form a development team
The PM now needs to form the rest of the development team, which needs the following roles:
- UI designers;
- Drone developers;
- Android developers with Java skills;
- iOS developers with Objective-C skills;
- DevOps engineers.
While the idea of hiring freelancers could be tempting, I recommend that you hire a field expert development team. Read “Freelance app development team vs. field expert software development teams” to learn why this is important for complex projects.
5. Sign-up for AWS managed cloud services
I recommend that you sign-up for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), i.e., the IaaS offering from AWS. This frees you up from managing the IT infrastructure for the Windows app.
You should also sign-up for AWS Amplify, which is the MBaaS offering from AWS since this frees you up from developing and managing the mobile backend.
AWS Amplify will come in handy for implementing features like user management, security, etc., moreover, you can easily integrate databases and 3rd party APIs when you use Amplify. Scaling your mobile apps is easier with Amplify.
6. Get a Drone development kit
I recommend that you use DJI, which is a popular drone platform. The company offers SDKs for developing apps around their drones, and you can access them on its developer portal. The DJI SDKs support all categories of its drones.
DJI offers SDKs for all the key aspects of your drone app, e.g.:
- Mobile app development for Android and iOS;
- Windows app development.
You need to register with DJI to use its SDKs.
7. Sign-up for a test automation aid
The Android mobile drone app you develop needs to work with all Android devices, likewise, the iOS app should work with all iOS devices. This requires you to test the apps with a wide range of devices, however, that‘s not easy with open-source testing frameworks.
I recommend that you use the Experitest mobile device lab, which offers hundreds of mobile devices on the cloud. You can also use the Experitest SeeTest Reporter, which offers robust test reports and analytics and this helps the testing team.
8. App development, testing, and deployment
I recommend that you develop apps for the DJI Matrice family of drones since it‘s a good choice for industrial use cases. Proceed with the development as follows:
Windows drone app development
Use the DJI Windows, UX, Onboarding, and Payload SDKs to develop the Windows app. You can code this app using Java, moreover, you can get deployment guidance in this AWS CodeDeploy documentation.
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The mobile app UI design
Your employees need user-friendly UIs for the Android and iOS apps, therefore, I recommend that you consult the following guidelines:
- “Human Interface Guideline” for the iOS app UI design;
- Material design guidelines for the Android app UI design.
Android app development
You need to take the following steps to develop the Android drone app:
- Code it using Java and Android Studio, the popular IDE for Android development.
- Integrate the DJI Android SDK into the code.
- Use Espresso and the Experitest mobile device lab to test the app.
- Follow these instructions to publish the app to Google Play.
iOS app development
Developing the iOS drone app involves the following steps:
- Use Xcode, the IDE for developing apps for Apple platforms, and code the app using Objective-C, the feature-rich language that many iOS developers know.
- Use the DJI iOS SDK to implement the core features of the drone app.
- Test the app using XCTest, moreover, use the Experitest mobile device lab to test it against a wide range of iOS devices.
- You need to publish the app to the Apple App Store by following this guide.
Planning to launch a drone construction surveying app for your construction industry?
Drones in construction are getting popular. Drone surveys are improving traditional methods of site inspection through aerial data collection techniques like LiDAR, digital surface models (DSM), etc.
Drone imagery can help inspect difficult areas like hot water lines, steam pipes, etc. Drone images help to directly procure accurate measurements from aerial surveys. All the raw data from drone surveys can be turned into actionable information through technologies like a geographic information system, etc.
Drone survey apps can make your construction projects more efficient, however, developing such an app is complex.
I recommend that you engage a reputed software development company for this project. You can read our guide “How to find the best software development company?” for finding such a service provider.
If you are still looking for professional software developers with experience in drone app development, why not contact DevTeam.Space via this software product specification form and partner with a high-quality software developer community expert in cutting-edge technologies.
Frequently Asked Questions on drone construction surveying
Microsurvey is widely used in the construction industry. It is easy to use and offers a wide range of features that make it an indispensable tool.
There are a number of free surveying tools that construction companies can use. These include SurveySparrow, SurveyMonkey, and HubSpot. Keep in mind that free solutions don’t offer the comprehensive range of features that paid apps do.
If you have an original idea for a survey application then you will need the people to help you build it. Create a project plan and then onboard the right developers. Set up the infrastructure and communication channels, then outline the tasks at hand and get your team started.