COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SEEKS TO INCORPORATE COST-SAVING DRONES INTO PROJECT PLANNING, INCREASING EFFICIENCY
(PLACERVILLE, CA) -- In an effort to reduce costs and increase efficiency, the El Dorado County Department of Transportation will request from the Board of Supervisors tomorrow approval to purchase a drone to replace nearly 60 percent of the work typically done by a Land Surveyor and eliminate the allocation for a vacant high-salary Land Surveyor position.
"The use of drones in many types of business is proving to be of great value," said Department of Transportation deputy director, Matt Smeltzer. "In the transportation project planning phase, the drone could be used on every new project to get detailed and three-dimensional elevation aerial data of the site. This would eliminate about 60 percent of the ground topo shots taken by a field crew as well as provide us with high-quality video."
Smeltzer said that applying a drone to an average project would eliminate the need for aerial survey consultant work for which the County pays between $10,000 and $12,000, pointing to the recent examples of the Silva Valley Bike Path, Mt. Murphy Bridge, Mound Springs/Indian Creek Bridges, and between and $18,000-$27,000 for larger projects such as the Northside Bike Path and Mosquito Bridge.
The department is requesting $34,000 for the drone, which includes insurance, licensing and training and upgrades to two computers that will utilize the drone.
"In a matter of months the drone will pay for itself in terms of what we would have spent to contract out the service, as well as save the County approximately $130,000 by eliminating the Land Surveyor position which has been vacant for close to a year," Smeltzer pointed out.
Providing safe, healthy and vibrant communities; respecting our natural resources and historical heritage.