Track Surveys

UAV/Topographical Surveys

An affordable and efficient 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 near tracks can threaten the stability of the rail or close the line if a washout, landslide or debris flow occurs. At Summit Infrastructure, we’re proud to provide cutting-edge topographic surveying with the use of advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

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

Using advanced drone technology, we can deliver four different data products, including:

  • 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 (slope, elevation, 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).
  • Triangle Mesh Object: 3D models of specific problem areas in the flight.


Our Remote Topographic Survey Services

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


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

Change Analysis

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

Custom Model Generation

We can generate 3D models of key areas for detailed analysis and enhanced visual feedback. 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

UAV/Topographical surveying has numerous advantages compared to traditional methods performed on Canadian railways.

Highly Accurate Survey Data

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

Efficient & Affordable Surveying

Whereas traditional surveying teams can take weeks to perform “boots on the ground” inspections, our UAV drones can survey the same area in just a single flight, saving time and reducing costs.

Fast Delivery Turnarounds

When you need information now, Summit Infrastructure is the company you trust to get results back in days, not weeks. Due to our small size and efficient workflow, we can turn around small jobs in just one business day and larger mapping jobs within a few days.


Why Choose Summit Infrastructure?

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

From track and slope monitoring and custom online dashboards to advanced UAV survey solutions, our highly-experienced team can provide you with all of the surveying support you need so you don’t have to deal with multiple different providers. Our team has a great deal of expertise in UAV research and development and 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

Summit Infrastructure is proud to have helped many Canadian companies survey their railway infrastructure with our unmanned aerial vehicles.

Frequently Asked Questions

UAV stands for unmanned aerial vehicle. UAV topographic surveys are a type of drone surveying that can take thousands of images of a survey area. These surveys are typically used for railway infrastructure and land development projects.

Once the flight is planned and any necessary permissions are granted from NAV Canada, the Summit team will set up a survey-grade GNSS receiver, create ground control points, fly the UAV, and survey up to 100 hectares.

After the flight has been performed, the photos are georeferenced and sent to our processing station. They are then collected and processed into our four final data products: orthomosaic, DEM, point cloud, and triangle mesh object.

The maximum altitude allowed for most flights in Canada is 120 meters above the ground. Because our digital cameras are so high resolution, we can still get high-quality images from the maximum height, which allows us to fly through complex terrain much faster than our competitors.

For example, to get the same GSD as us, a competitor with a DJI drone would have to fly only 50 meters above the ground. This gets dangerously close to buildings, trees, power lines, etc. Because 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

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

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