business applications

Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUAs) have moved from being a peripheral to a well-known solution to specific issues in a number of industries, and new uses for SUAs continue to be found on an ongoing basis.

Click on each icon, or the menu item on the left, for information on some of the main current industry uses. Please note this list is not exhaustive - if you think SUAs could help you with your business, do please get in touch.


​Operating SUAs requires preparation, to ensure all client requirements are met, and that my SUA activities are carried out safely, and in full compliance with my Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Permission. For information on how I typically operate, please look at the 'methods' page under 'services'.

Click on an icon, or the menu on the left, for information on different SUA business applications


Farming is one area that has significantly benefited from the introduction of SUAs, and indeed was an industry that was an early adopter of this technology.


On a simplistic level, an aerial view of crops and animals can deliver a different perspective to farmers. However, SUAs are now routinely being used for more detailed, and potentially valuable, tasks such as :

  • undertaking accurate plant counts

  • reducing instances of crop loss

  • searching for parasites and fungi

  • reviewing efficacy of irrigation/drainage systems

  • monitoring livestock grazing patterns


Architectural firms can benefit from the use of SUAs in a number of ways. When undertaking initial site analysis, a SUA can provide the architect with topographical mapping data, undertake sightline analysis and provide aerial site views. All of this information and data can come from a drone that can be folded up and carried around in a backpack or other small bag. 

During the construction phase, the SUA can also help by sharing progress with remotely-based clients through aerial footage and photographs of the site, in addition to allowing the architect to see exactly how the construction phase is progressing on a comparative basis. SUAs can also provide site access information, and undertake quantitative estimates of stockpiles.


SUAs have proven to be an invaluable tool for use  on construction sites. Given their nature, they provide a reliable recording platform when accessing busy, difficult or dangerous locations. Some SUA uses for this specific working environment are:

  • undertaking aerial surveys of part-built structures

  • site inspections

  • Health & Safety inspections

  • producing information for building progress reports

  • live monitoring of sites

  • promotional video & photographs

  • thermal imaging recording

  • collecting raw data for Business Information Modelling (BIM) software packages


Aerial photography has been used in the Forestry industry for decades, to help manage plantations and also to assess damage after a natural or man-made incident. However, SUAs have opened up a whole new way of gathering management information in an affordable, timely and cost effective manner:

  • historical area imagery and change detection

  • tree height monitoring

  • health and disease detection

  • power line management

  • assessing carbon storage in forests

  • measuring cut wood stockpiles

  • inventory assessment for valuation and taxation purposes 


SUAs have a large number of potential uses in the engineering space, depending on the specific kind of engineering project being undertaken. The deployment of SUAs can also help increase quality, reduce costs, mitigate safety risks and improve decision-making in many engineering projects.


Given their versatility, drones are able to undertake a wide variety of functions, including:

  • stockpile monitoring

  • recording data to produce 3d maps and models

  • emissions monitoring

  • supporting construction projects

  • general aerial monitoring


SUAs are ideal for environmental monitoring and conservation activities. They can capture raw data in the form of images and videos, across the visible and invisible light spectrum (camera permitting), that can then be used in algorithm-driven modelling and monitoring. Some of the current uses for SUAs in this area include:

  • monitoring glaciers to track melting and surface feature changes

  • assessing coastal erosion

  • identifying plant/invasive plant species

  • checking plant health and identifying biomass

  • monitoring the progress of wildfires

  • discreetly observing wild animals in their natural habitat

  • combating wildlife poaching


real estate

The ability of SUAs to capture unusual and unique perspectives has not gone unnoticed by the real estate industry. SUAs are increasingly being used to add detail-rich content to the sales particulars of individual properties. Whilst drone operations in 'congested areas' are restricted by the CAA, they can nonetheless be used on properties that have a large garden, or are in sparsely populated areas. SUAs can add the following to the home sales process:

  • aerial 'fly over/fly in' footage of properties

  • provide high quality images of the property and its aspects

  • a 'tour' of the local area

  • a more intimate feel to the property listing

  • a 'wow' factor previously reserved for only the most expensive listings


The fact that SUAs are able to hover, move nimbly and record data mean they are ideal for maintenance-related assessments and surveys. They make awkward or dangerous locations accessible, and can provide real-time and/or recorded high definition footage and photographs (for example - my day to day SUAs record high quality video footage at up to 60 frames per second and can take 20 megapixel still and panoramic photographs). Some typical maintenance task undertaken by SUAs are:

  • roof survey/inspections

  • standard or thermal imaging of buildings / chimneys / gas venting towers

  • wind turbine inspections

  • electricity pylon inspections

  • aircraft fuselage inspections

  • solar panel inspections

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