Compared with regular surveying, drone mapping and aerial surveys can be done in a fraction of the time and cost, but with more detail. A senior surveyor in New Zealand found that a job taking 3-4 days previously could be accomplished in just a few hours with his new Phantom 4 series drone. By gathering all the image data from the air, you can avoid ground obstacles and complete the job with fewer crew members and less overall risk. This is especially important in areas where waterways or wetlands prevent traditional support equipment from being safely deployed. Geologically unstable areas, such as volcanoes–which need frequent mapping–are also among the best examples of the most difficult surveying tasks where drones can shine.
Cost savings are especially important when a payout isn’t guaranteed. Real estate developers that need to sort through dozens of prospective building sites, often without assurance of success, are flocking to drones that can survey sites for development because they minimize the upfront cost (while still providing all the detail needed for a thorough review). This Dronelife article details the case of developers who’ve found that their drone imaging maps have been detailed enough to incorporate into the final construction plans, saving money not just during prospecting, but during development as well.