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Aerial Intelligence Improves AEC Efficiency and Cost

Oct 2023

Design and construction professionals use aerial intelligence from Nearmap to improve win rates, increase efficiencies, and decrease planning and design costs.

Oct 2023

Growing project backlogs coupled with a shrinking skilled workforce, ongoing supply chain issues, materials shortages, and economic uncertainty are causing construction bottlenecks throughout the AEC industry. But design and construction professionals are experts at pivoting, and they are getting creative - turning to innovative technologies like aerial intelligence to improve proposal win rates, increase project efficiencies, and decrease preliminary planning and design costs.

Increased Project Efficiency and Accuracy with Construction Mapping

The key to better project outcomes? Better project planning.
The key to better project planning? Better site data.
Traditionally, firms have relied on outdated public resources in the preliminary project planning and design phases to mitigate the high overhead costs of in-house site surveys. A project landscape can drastically change over a short period of time, making it difficult to accurately identify potential design challenges, environmental concerns, site access problems, and other critical concerns without current data. Failure to identify these issues early in the project lifecycle can derail project timelines and budgets.
As a result, it’s estimated that up to 19% of total project costs are attributed to rework.
Advanced aerial capture programs offer an accurate understanding of the existing site conditions without the high cost of in-house surveys and data collection. Aerial imagery enables precise positioning and detailed measurements of a project site and its surrounding landscape. This level of accuracy reduces the need for design rework and improves the overall quality of the final product.
Aerial imagery can be easily integrated into various design platforms to complete faster, more accurate, data-driven design alternatives analysis and detect potential project challenges for proposed design improvements early in the planning process. Design professionals can overlay virtual models onto aerial imagery, visualize how their designs will fit into the existing environment, and identify any potential clashes or constraints. This ensures that construction projects are optimized for the site, minimizing costly design errors and rework.

Improved Planning and Design

Stantec, an international engineering design and professional services firm, previously relied heavily on older aerial datasets and satellite imagery. Tracking site conditions and measuring progress often took longer than needed because of data that was outdated and low-resolution, resulting in guesswork and repeat site visits. That all changed with aerial imagery. The ability to access ground truth on-demand allows Stantec to optimize its preliminary design and planning by reducing the need for surveys or site visits and custom flyovers.
Aerial imagery is more than seeing the world at scale — it’s a tool that empowers smarter design decisions with actionable insights that can highlight the past, present, and future of a project site.

“3D data and aerial imagery help us get the most information we need for a project without ever having to go on-site. I can see things that previously required lots of time in the field to understand. It's a much better way of working.”

Justin Racelis,Civil Engineer and BIM Specialist, Stantec
This invaluable data platform enables engineering firms to transform their planning and design workflows, increase design efficiency and accuracy, improve site safety, and mitigate risk.

Streamlined Communication

A typical construction project requires cooperation and collaboration from numerous stakeholders. Each individual or group needs access to a common operating picture that they can rely on if the project is to be executed successfully. But not every stakeholder speaks engineer. Aerial imagery helps bridge the gap and facilitate more effective communication and collaboration through visual project updates, including traffic rerouting and service interruptions that impact the local community. Design changes and modifications can be shared more efficiently using aerial imagery, streamlining the decision-making process and reducing delays.

Sustainable Alternatives with Topographic Engineering

Environmental sustainability is a global concern, but the historically fragmented nature of the construction industry has made it more challenging for the industry as a whole to adopt sustainable technologies.
Aerial construction mapping promotes sustainable construction practices by minimizing the ecological footprint of construction activities. By reducing the need for extensive on-site visits and physical surveys, businesses can minimize the disturbance of natural habitats and ecosystems. Aerial imagery also enables the monitoring of vegetation cover, water features, and other environmental indicators, helping businesses track changes over time and implement conservation measures when necessary.
The insights gathered through aerial imagery can help firms develop better conservation strategies, minimize a project's environmental impact, and ensure project compliance with environmental guidelines.


Aerial imagery is revolutionizing the industry by offering a wide range of benefits that enhance every stage of the construction and planning processes. From enhanced efficiency and accuracy to improved safety and informed decision-making, aerial imagery empowers businesses to streamline operations, optimize designs, and mitigate risks.
The AEC industry is investing in aerial imagery as it has the power to boost accuracy and productivity. By leveraging the power of aerial imagery, firms can stay at the forefront of innovation, make data-driven decisions, and build a sustainable future.