close up of a topographic map

Oct 18, 2022 8:24:31 AM | Drones Things To Look For When Considering LiDAR Drones For Surveying And Mapping

LiDAR drones are fast becoming the go-to solution for surveying and mapping land and are a crucial tool for every drone survey company. However, purchasing equipment for LiDAR drone surveys is an investment, so choosing the best option is vital. Here are the things to look for when considering buying LiDAR drones:


Prices of LiDAR drones can vary drastically; you may be able to pick up an entry-level LiDAR system for under $25,000. But, you will need to consider the costs of the extra equipment required to conduct topographic surveys, such as a drone, a GPS rover, and accessories.


Portability is a crucial consideration when choosing a LiDAR drone. You will need to transport the drone to different locations for surveys, so ensuring it comes with a carry case and that the weight is manageable for you is essential.


Knowing how to operate your new piece of survey equipment is essential. Choosing a LiDAR system that offers training and is easy to use will ease the learning curve.

Data processing

The most time-consuming aspect of LiDAR aerial data is processing, but a few options are available. The first is to pay to outsource processing, and the second is to self-process. Self-processing can be labor-intensive. However, using SmartDrone Advanced LiDAR Mapping Processor simplifies processing and delivers results quickly. 

Licensing requirements

Before you can operate your LiDAR drone, you must earn your drone piloting license and register it with the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA guidelines are worth checking to ensure you meet the requirements before applying for a license.

Acreage coverage times

Considering the acreage coverage times is vital. You must conduct your land surveys efficiently, so a slow drone or one with low battery life can cause issues.

Software subscription

Choosing the best software to suit your project types is vital when dealing with large data sets. Some software companies require you to pay an annual subscription fee, others are free to use, and some grant a perpetual license for a one-off payment. Weighing your budget and the required functionality will help you choose the best software.

Service and support

When you are new to LiDAR drones and the associated technology, having support available is crucial. When you purchase your equipment, it is worth selecting a manufacturer offering after-sales service and support when needed.

Country of origin

Choosing a USA-made drone is often advised. Buying drones imported from overseas can potentially be problematic, as the government is considering banning drones made in certain countries.


Buying a LiDAR drone is an investment, so ensuring that it comes with a warranty is vital to provide you with protection and peace of mind.


Not all LiDAR drones are created equal so it is integral to find the right one to serve you and your business’s needs. There is a lot to consider when searching but by looking at these aspects, features, and requirements, you can make a more thoughtful and educational decision.

Team SmartDrone

Written By: Team SmartDrone