Most people’s first thoughts when they hear the word ‘landfill’ aren’t airspace calculations and topographical maps, however, to the owners and managers of these solid waste facilities, these are some of the most important aspects of their jobs.
Regulation limits the amount of airspace that landfill operators may use. Thus the optimization of waste placement and thus airspace usage is critical for the operators of solid waste facilities.
Traditionally, landfill managers have used annually piloted airplanes for aerial mapping to get an overhead view of what their entire site actually looks like, and with the help of technology, conduct volume calculations to see exactly how much space the landfill is taking up. These once a year flyovers provide valuable information to the managers and landfill engineers, and help them plan out exactly where to put their waste next as well as helping them to complete their mandatory regulatory reporting.
Today, drones are now able to do many of same things for landfill operators as piloted airplanes. For many sites, the same output can be created using drones to capture the images, yielding improved accuracy, quicker access to data, enhanced safety and reduced costs. Furthermore, as we have already begun to observe, landfill operators are seeing the operational benefits and are collecting this data with greater frequency, either monthly or quarterly. The planning that was once done annually can now be split up and done more frequently, yielding more accuracy and better site utilization than ever before.