Drone data helps construction project managers track progress, save time, and make better decisions on the job site

Recent data suggests that more than half of typical construction projects finish late and over budget*. With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that project managers on job sites of all sizes are adding drones to their toolkit.

Drone imagery is a game changer when it comes to managing day-to-day operations on a job site. Aerial insights improve progress tracking and help catch problems early — before they become costly or add weeks to your timeline. By spending less than an hour each week mapping your job site, you gain access to an unprecedented amount of knowledge about nearly every aspect of your project.

Here are five ways to keep your next project running on time and under budget using drones.


Create visual timelines of a project for easy reporting and progress tracking.

1. Track Weekly Progress and Generate Photo Reports

Weekly drone maps reduce the amount of time spent walking a site to monitor, track progress, and inspect for safety issues. It’s also easy to repeat flights each week for consistency and create a comprehensive visual record of a project. DroneDeploy’s newest feature — Progress Photos — saves time and creates a visual timeline of your job site in minutes. It’s the first tool that allows you to intuitively plan photo flights, automatically capture corner images, and generate a replicable progress report every week.


Overlay diagrams or CAD drawings onto drone maps to compare site conditions to plans.

2. Compare Site Conditions to Plans with Map Overlays

For more informed planning, overlay drone maps with site plans such as utility, wastewater, and equipment clearances. Compare real-time site conditions against plans. This helps catch deviations early and redirect them at minimal cost. For more advanced oversight and planning, export drone maps into BIM, GIS, and CAD software.

3. Communicate More Effectively and Share Information with your Team

Drones simplify communication and information sharing, both internally and externally. Aerial imagery keeps entire teams aligned and informed with up-to-date, easily digestible visual data. DroneDeploy is cloud-based, so it’s easy to share annotated maps between team members in real time from the field, or keep external stakeholders up-to-speed on the progress of a project through share links and interactive 3D models of a job site.


DroneDeploy makes it easy to annotate maps and share across teams in the cloud for easy access on site from a phone or tablet.

4. Bring the Job Site to the Office for Better Collaboration

Streamline collaboration and enhance the decision-making process by referencing changes on a real-time drone map. With Live Map, you can generate a map of your site in real time, so you’re working with up-to-date information. Now you can bring the job site to the office and easily reference current site issues during contractor meetings. This makes it easy to convey changes and distribute information, even across large teams.

“If I need a contractor to be aware of a design change before he lays pipe, I simply walk over to him with my tablet, blow up a particular section of overlaid plans and show him exactly what he needs to know. I have it all in a PDF, so I can pencil in the new route of the pipe right there in front of him and then send the information over to the engineers. This cuts out weeks of back and forth and boils it all down to less than an hour.” — Jesse Creech, VDC Coordinator at Brasfield & Gorrie


Create real-time Live Maps to track subcontractor progress each day.

5. Manage Subcontractors More Effectively

Reference Live Maps for daily quality assurance checks, before subcontractors even leave the site. Maintain accountability, preserve subcontractor relationships, and negotiate timely solutions that minimize project downtime.

“Live Map helps me end each day with confidence knowing where a project stands and what our subcontractors have completed so that we can provide the best product for our clients.” — Ryan Moret, Field Solutions Manager at McCarthy Building Companies

Where to Learn More

  • New to using drones for construction project management? Download our free introductory eBook to learn more.
  • Watch our recent webinar to hear how Chasco Constructors uses drones to track progress on 17 job sites in Texas.
  • See how Choate Construction leveraged drones to keep a 550,000 square-foot project on track and save $7,700 in the process.
  • Drones helped Key Construction save money, stay ahead of emerging issues, and salvage a subcontractor relationship on a $10 million project. Read the case study.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

With the Construction Accuracy package from DroneDeploy, you get powerful insights and industry integrations to manage your project’s workflow from a single, easy-to-use drone data platform. Contact us to learn more.

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.

*Data provided by Dodge Data & Analytics and McKinsey & Company



5 Ways to Keep Your Next Project on Time and Under Budget Using Drones was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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