Track Surveys

UAV/Topographical Surveys

An efficient and cost-effective way to survey large areas and monitor terrain features to ensure the stability of your rail infrastructure.

Topographic Surveying

A Better Way to Monitor Terrain Features Near Your Rail Infrastructure

Unmonitored terrain features in close proximity to railway tracks pose a potential threat to the stability of the rail or close the line if a landslide, washout, or debris flow occurs. Summit Infrastructure is proud to provide state-of-the-art topographic surveying using advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Unlike traditional survey methods that tend to be time-consuming, expensive, and only produce a few images, our UAV surveys are much more efficient and generate thousands of images with precise GNSS (GPS) coordinates that can be triangulated into highly accurate information about the surveyed area. Additionally, our system has fast turnarounds and requires minimal staffing for a processed product.

The following are the four different data products we can deliver using our advanced drone technology.

  • Triangle Mesh Object: 3D models of specific problem areas in the flight.
  • Orthomosaic/GeoTiff: A giant image of the surveyed area.
  • Digital Elevation Model (DEM)/ Digital Surface Model (DSM): A digital terrain model of the land’s shape (elevation, slope, etc.), similar to what a traditional survey would deliver.
  • Dense Point Cloud: Measurements of points on the external surfaces of objects around rail infrastructure (similar to LIDAR surveys for a fraction of the price).


Our Remote Topographic Survey Services

We can help monitor your infrastructure area by measuring changes from previous flights, distances, and vectorizing data.


We convert imagery into features to help you maintain a comprehensive inventory of your assets. For example, we use points to represent small assets like switches or signs, polygons to represent hazardous areas, land ownership, etc., and lines to represent rail or roads.

Change Analysis

We use precise data processing techniques to determine if your railway infrastructure has changed over time and describe why these changes may have occurred. We will monitor rockfall zones, measure and record debris accumulation in lineside ditches accurately, and detect movement in slopes from one flight to another.

Custom Model Generation

We can create 3D models of primary areas for enhanced visual feedback and detailed analysis. LIDAR-style point clouds can also be used for further survey needs, along with Digital Terrain and Surface Models of the proposed area.

BENEFITS OF UAV/Topographical Surveys

Experience the Benefits of UAV/Topographical Surveys

There are a variety of advantages to UAV/Topographical surveying compared to traditional methods performed on Canadian railways.

Highly Accurate Survey Data

We can guarantee the absolute accuracy of less than 5 cm on our delivered products, but we usually get accuracy as close as 1 cm. Additionally, all of our flights are geo-rectified, and we won’t charge you more for RTK results.

Efficient & Affordable Surveying

Our UAV drones can survey the same area in one flight, reducing costs and saving time, compared to traditional surveying teams who take weeks to perform “boots on the ground” inspections.

Fast Delivery Turnarounds

We can get your results back in days, not weeks. Due to our efficient workflow and small size, we can turn around small jobs in just one business day and larger mapping jobs within a few days so you can get the information you need as soon as possible.


Why Choose Summit Infrastructure?

Summit Infrastructure’s UAV collects high-resolution imagery from much larger areas than any other UAV surveying company. We use VTOL UAV with PPK results, keeping our quality and efficiency far ahead of other contractors.

From advanced UAV survey solutions to custom online dashboards and slope monitoring, our highly-experienced team can provide you with all the surveying support you require so you don’t have to deal with multiple different providers. Our skilled team has a great deal of expertise in UAV research and development with advanced degrees in Geographic Information Systems, so you can trust that we will get the job done right.

We’ve Performed UAV Drone Land Surveying Across Canada

At Summit Infrastructure, we’re proud to have helped numerous Canadian companies survey their railway infrastructure using our advanced UAVs.

Frequently Asked Questions

UAV stands for unmanned aerial vehicle. UAV topographic surveys are a form of drone surveying that takes thousands of images of a survey area. These surveys are commonly used for land development projects and railway infrastructure.

After confirming the flight and receiving any necessary permissions from NAV Canada, our team will set up a survey-grade GNSS receiver, establish ground control points, fly the UAV, and survey up to 100 hectares.

Once the flight has been performed, the photos are georeferenced and delivered to our processing station. From there, they are collected and processed into our four data products: DEM, point cloud, triangle mesh object, and orthomosaic.

Most flights in Canada have a maximum flight altitude of 120 metres above the ground. Since our digital cameras are so high resolution, we can still get high-quality images from the maximum height, allowing us to fly through challenging terrain much faster than our competitors.

For example, to get the same GSD as us, a competitor with a DJI drone would need to fly just 50 meters above the ground. However, when you fly that low to the ground, you get dangerously close to power lines, trees, buildings, etc. Since these factors must be considered, they will only be able to collect survey data for a fraction of the entire site, where we can do it in a single flight.

Contact Us

Talk To A UAV Topological Survey Expert

Reach out to our experts and find out how Summit Infrastructure can help survey your railway infrastructure with efficient and cost-effective drone data collection.

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