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Drones are more than a fun toy or trendy gift—HEI's staff use these tools in their day-to-day work to capture all sorts of valuable data. Just like an upgrade to your computer helps improve your work performance, drone technology helps our staff capture data more accurately, safely, and efficiently in ways that weren’t really possible until now!

Drone-Based LiDAR Capabilities

Drones have a number of benefits compared to traditional survey methods when it comes to collecting data for engineering project designs. Drones can collect LiDAR data much faster and efficiently compared to the traditional aerial LiDAR method or by a ground survey, saving valuable time and money.
Drone-based LiDAR is also safer to conduct than traditional survey methods. Drones can access hard-to-reach areas, fly over unstable terrain and busy highways, as well as fly during the night, alleviating the safety risk of having to place surveyors in these dangerous areas and avoid impacting traffic. HEI is excited to team with SkySkopes, Inc. to pioneer the way we use this technology to provide value to our clients.

In 2021, HEI was featured on Inside Unmanned Systems, which is a national news website and publication that serves an international readership of 20,000. Check out the article

Some examples of how drones can add value:

  • Improve designs with more information, resulting in fewer changes during construction
  • Enhance our survey capabilities with faster and safer data collection
  • Provide visual imagery far beyond Google Earth’s quality and accuracy
  • Better engage the public with 3D models and visualization as well as unique photos and videos
  • Accurately document site conditions and construction progress from a safe distance and higher perspective
  • Cover miles of ditch inspection in a fraction of the time and cost
  • Get precise views of hard-to-reach areas, including during bridge inspections
What data can drones capture

3 Ways Drones Make Your Life Easier

  1. Decision-Making: Make informed decisions with high-quality design products from drone imagery.
  2. Public Input/Engagement: Effectively communicate project design features in an engaging visual story to a mass audience. 
  3. Save Resources and Limit Risk: Capture data exponentially faster than traditional methods while reducing safety risk to personnel. 

Image Quality Comparison

Image quality comparison

The HEI Difference

HEI has a number of certified drone pilots who serve all regions of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Our pilots are trained surveyors and technical professionals, which means we not only collect the data but also interpret and integrate it into solutions. This creates a streamlined process from data gathering to solution development without having to involve a third-party.

HyDrone RCV

Not all drones fly, despite the image that immediately comes to mind after someone mentions the word. Included in our innovative arsenal of technology is the HyDroneTM RCV, a small, lightweight remote control vehicle with two plastic pontoons that provide buoyancy and stability. From the dry shoreline, a surveyor can send the HyDrone into a lake, stream, wetland, or any other body of water to record data that a surveyor would otherwise have to capture manually.

The HyDrone, because of its size, can maneuver far more easily than a boat designed to hold one or two fully grown adults. The HyDrone moves effortlessly through shallow waters or brush-filled lagoons, and its quick deployability allows our surveyors to complete their work much more quickly, getting the information into waiting hands that much faster.

Stay Connected, Learn More

Subscribe to HEI's YouTube channel and sign up for our emails to stay connected with our latest drone videos and capabilities. 

We have multiple certified drone pilots located throughout the Upper Midwest region. Contact Chad Qualley if you are interested in learning more about our drone capabilities. 


Chad Qualley
Drone Operations Manager


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