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SEE Civil Enhances Survey Workflows and Generates Greater Construction Site Insight with UAVs and Trimble Stratus

SEE Civil accelerates mapping, measuring and managing UAV-collected survey data with Trimble Stratus


SEE Civil is an Australian-owned civil construction company with expertise in all aspects of civil infrastructure and urban development projects

Business Challenge

SEE Civil was relying primarily on conventional survey methods to collect and leverage survey data across its civil and urban development projects. High costs, safety concerns and time constraints made traditional survey methods a major hurdle for many day-to-day operations.


Trimble® Stratus, Trimble Business Center, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)


  • Reduced survey time and costs - Minimized time, cost and safety risks compared to traditional survey methods
  • Enhanced productivity tracking - Can now survey project sites much faster and frequently to monitor project progress - Trimble Stratus UAV survey software makes it simple to calculate site volumes, materials added or removed, perform design checks, and measure distances, slopes and heights to compare with site measurements
  • Quick information sharing to support data-driven decisions - Simplified reporting makes it easy to share project information and to answer questions; visual timelines keep teams on track

Australian-based SEE Civil is a civil construction company with more than 30 years of experience completing a wide variety of projects encompassing all aspects of civil construction and urban development. The company also offers superior plant management and runs a quarrying operation, to create an integrated approach to project delivery. SEE Civil teams have a wide range of experience across civil construction projects including building roads, bridges and rail, earthworks, and water, sewer and utility civil infrastructure work.

SEE Civil has completed prominent infrastructure and urban development projects across southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. Current projects include the Mount Lindesay Highway North Maclean safety improvements project, various works at the Gold Coast Airport and the recently completed Bangalow Bridge Replacement Project.

UAV Surveying Compliments Conventional Methods

Across the scope of its projects, SEE Civil leverages professional surveyors to complete a range of activities, such as surveying construction sites for the placement of buildings, roads, and utility lines, producing topographic and hydrographic maps, calculating volumetric measurements and more. Previously, SEE Civil relied primarily on conventional surveying techniques and some UAV survey drones.

The company turned to Trimble partner and worksite expert Propeller and SITECH Construction Systems for help advancing its UAV program. The SEE Civil team wanted the ability to use UAV drones in conjunction with traditional survey processes to quickly gather high-resolution geospatial images and to collect critical survey-grade data about their construction sites. The company also wanted to implement a more cohesive survey methodology to track project progress and to maximize productivity across its jobs.


Drones and Trimble Stratus Make Topographic Surveying and Using Data Simpler and Faster

Propeller recommended leveraging Trimble Stratus software, Trimble Business Center and Propeller’s data analytics and visualization platform, AeroPoints, with SEE Civil’s drone program. The team’s survey drones include positioning technologies, image-processing algorithms and imaging sensors. Combining Trimble’s advanced software with the drone’s high- resolution 3D mapping solutions is allowing the team to capture geo-referenced aerial images with razor-sharp resolution across its projects very quickly.

“Now we have access to accurate, up-to-date topographic surveys whenever we need them, without the constraints of traditional survey,” said Cameron Brittain, general manager of technology and digital engineering at SEE Group. “We can easily check our design and answer questions quickly, reducing bottlenecks.”

Brittain likes that Trimble Stratus and AeroPoints take the complexity out of performing measurements and calculations and that it supports virtual collaboration, so construction teams have the answers they need almost immediately.

“We were looking for the ability to capture, analyze, and share accurate data about our worksites and assets,” said Brittain. “Now we have more efficient mapping and measuring tools so we can plan smarter, report faster and drive improvements across survey workflows and entire projects.”


Better Project Tracking and Deeper Insights

Today, SEE Civil’s team of 10 surveyors is using Trimble Status and drones to efficiently map, measure and share survey information about worksites. Logging in through the company’s Trimble account, engineers and project managers can see surfaces visualized in 3D instantly. Teams create volume measurements to compare elevations captured with the drone, comparing those values to the design for accurate project tracking and reporting. Using Trimble Stratus, teams also develop high-quality deliverables for cut and fill mapping, stockpile management and quantification, cross-section analysis, and evaluating slope heights to compare with site measurements.

“Trimble Stratus gives us the ability to provide more accurate positioning information to our teams, more frequently, and much quicker , especially when combined withconventional survey methods,” said Brittain “With this information available at our fingertips, our teams can make faster and more informed decisions to stay ahead of the curve.”

Taking Control

Trimble Stratus is also helping SEE Civil to enhance and accelerate its reporting capabilities and to communicate project progress. End-of-month reporting is now also much simpler using the Trimble Status platform, reducing stress and providing more information for project teams, faster.

“Trimble Stratus software includes a visual timeline that keeps everyone on the same page and empowers the team to track site changes, avoid crossed wires, and resolve disputes when they arise,” said Brittain.

What Next?

The Propeller team and SITECH Construction Systems are continuing to train SEE Civil teams to use Trimble Stratus software and to optimize its new UAV survey workflow fully. The company is currently training its extended team of surveyors, superintendents, project managers and its executive management team on the software. SEE Civil’s goal is to have decision makers be empowered to readily access survey data whenever and however they need it, to make smarter, data-driven decisions.

“Trimble and Propeller have been great to deal with so far,” said Brittain. “I relied on their experience and knowledge to help understand the Trimble Stratus capabilities and how we can best leverage the tools. We’re minimizing time, cost, and safety risks associated with traditional survey and we’ve totally transformed how do things to drive efficiencies across projects.”