Using drones to survey and value farmland


Cutting-edge drone technology is increasingly being used to survey and value farmland for both maintenance and marketing purposes. John Robson discusses some of these new developments

Latest drone surveying and mapping technology has become an integral and value-adding element of maintaining, valuing and selling farmland.

Using drones for airborne surveys has numerous advantages – including cost – over traditional surface surveys or airborne mapping using helicopters or light aircraft.

Flying at altitudes much lower and slower than conventional aircraft, drones can create ultra-sharp images and exceptionally clear overviews that are used to map installations, infrastructure and buildings in a way that improves both the efficiency and quality of a survey.

The benefit from drone images

A key aspect of marketing a large farm is often the spectacular surrounding scenery. Capturing this type of sweeping scale and beauty can be difficult on the ground – especially in tough-to-access areas.

Drones can provide captivating and affordable elevated images that catch the eye, prompting online viewings, and ultimately driving a sale, although good property will always sell.

Nor is it only big estates that can benefit from drone photography and videography. Drone footage of modest, single-acre properties can showcase qualities that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Drone-captured images can also help surveyors and valuers to analyse a property in greater detail as they can view it from all angles. In addition, roofing and structural matters can be spotted and dealt with, facilitating many outcomes such as a sale, end of tenancy negotiations or simply good maintenance.

Enabling more effective boundary management

In addition, drone mapping and valuation services now play a role in identifying and defining boundaries and other features to enable more efficient management.

Just as importantly, drone operators can get into areas that would otherwise be difficult to access.  A drone can survey terrain that would be challenging for people on foot or in ground vehicles, such as densely forested locations, hilly or mountainous land, and swamps.

They can check the content and condition of land and wooded areas much more quickly by pin pointing issues that can then be walked.

Similarly, historical features can be realised from elevated positions. The dry summer has reviled a host of historic features such as ‘EIRE’ written into the ground of the Republic of Ireland to donate their neutrality to German aircraft in WWII.

As well as the practical surveying and mapping benefits, this also delivers advantages in terms of health and safety.