Covington’s Drone Capabilities Cover New Ground

Adding to Covington’s arsenal of technology, two of our FAA-certified engineers use unmanned aerial systems, aka drones, to deliver state-ot-the-art data for a variety of client projects. Drones use smart technology in delivering images, photographs, and video to provide valuable data at all project stages. They’re an exceptional tool for civil engineering.

Here are some areas where drone use provides a distinct advantage:

  • Aerial photography
  • Environmental impact and compliance monitoring
  • Ecological assessment of land areas
  • Waters and wetlands search and identification
  • Vegetation growth monitoring
  • Disaster imaging and damage assessment
  • Siting and routing projects
  • Site inspection
  • Construction stage monitoring
  • Post-construction asset management
  • Real estate surveying and property inspection
  • Infrastructure monitoring and analysis
  • Redevelopment planning
  • Structure inspection at difficult-to-reach heights
  • Land inspection of areas inaccessible by foot, vehicle, or watercraft
  • Air and water sampling

Drones offer quick access to crucial data. For instance, a drone can cover 30 city blocks in 15 minutes, and a   20-minute site flyover collects significant data within hours. Additionally, streaming data feeds provide live updates so you can identify areas of concern in real time and proactively take appropriate measures. Teams can share data and create side-by-side comparisons to track progress.



Recently, Covington engineers employed their DJI Phantom 4 RTK drone to collect topographic data for the Biloxi Sand Beach Renourishment. Using the collected topographic data, a volume of material required to reestablish grade is determined and furnished to the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) for permitting.

In September 2021, Covington engineers programmed the drone with a mapped flight pattern which covered the area between the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor and The Blind Tiger. Following this pattern, the drone took almost 300 photos which, after data processing, created a complete aerial and 3D topographic surface of the area. With this topographic data, Covington accurately determined how many cubic yards of sand was necessary to establish the permitted grade and properly renourish this famous stretch of beach.

Historically, a survey crew takes multiple measurements to build needed data, with a team of professionals coordinating roles to complete the study. Drone data reduces hours spent on large-scale surveys, inspections and renovations and increases the safety of your crew members. This benefit is huge: crew members are saved the danger of standing or walking along busy roadways, trekking in hazardous terrain, and climbing elevated structures.

Engineers can streamline processes and create the most efficient working environment while monitoring active projects without work site disruption or shutdown. Drone flight time is usually about an hour with data available within 24 hours, all at roughly half the cost of a traditional survey. In short, utilizing a drone helps projects stay on time and under budget.

Midway through a project or at the planning stage, Covington Civil and Environmental’s drone services solve problems and save significant resources while providing accurate, detailed, and timely data. Reach out to Andrew Levens, Engineering Manager at to learn more about the efficiency of using drones in your environmental or civil engineering project.