Do you need a topographic map or a legal survey? What’s the difference?

A topographic map is a detailed and accurate illustration of man-made and natural features on the ground. According to Natural Resources Canada. It has relative accuracy, making it great for:

  • measurements- i.e. length of a structure
  • progress- visualize and manage a large site
  • scouting- get a general idea and vision of an area
  • marketing- develop maps, photos, and videos

A legal survey is more precise in terms of global location. It ties into an official coordinate system, giving it absolute accuracy and real-world relevance. This map must also be signed and sealed by a professional land surveyor or a legally authorized civil engineer.

  • shows legal property boundaries (ex. land titles)
  • used as a tool for construction projects
  • geo-referenced site plans

Now, how do drones fit in?

Drones are a great solution for mapping, especially topographic maps requiring detailed surface elevation information. Skymatics holds a nation-wide SFOC (Special Flight Operations Certificate). Creating your map without this certification leaves you open to liabilities. 

Mapping with drones can save time, money, and increase safety.

Skymatics creates base map imagery faster and at a higher resolution than traditional methods. Our drones capture geo-referenced elevation data, contour information, and HD imagery. In a fraction of the time it takes for a crew on the ground to gather ground reference points, drones have captured thousands of data points that can be turned into actionable information. This not only saves time in the field, thus leading to cost savings, it also increases safety by taking boots off the ground in dangerous or hazardous terrain. 

“this data capture using traditional field survey methods would have taken additional 2-3 days

“The Drone capability certainly provides an ideal solution where there is difficult terrain or unsafe access to certain areas”

LTS Lockley

Survey Site Plan Is bare on the left and filled it, making it easy to understand with Skymatics drone Imagery

Survey Site Plan Without and With Skymatics Imagery

A professional survey company creates highly accurate maps. These legal surveys are further enhanced by layering ultra-high definition orthophoto imagery collected with drones. Surveyors’ need to revisit a site to resurvey missed features after their site visit are reduced or eliminated by pulling the coordinates from the drone’s HD imagery.

How accurate are drones?

Compared to satellite imagery, drones give faster, more usable images with image resolution on the order of centimeters rather than meters

Satellite imagery is less clear than the drone captured imagery which is sharp


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