Unmanned aircraft systems can improve survey data collection

By Stephanie Eckman, Joseph Eyerman, Dorota Temple

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, will disrupt many industries in the next 5 to 10 years. In this research brief, we speculate about how UAS could be used in survey data collection to make survey data more accurate and/or less costly. We put forth three ideas for how UAS can be used to improve surveys in the future to (1) supplement survey data with UAS photo and sensor data; (2) deliver survey hardware to selected respondents, and (3) detect and enumerate housing units for sample selection.


Eckman, S., Eyerman, J., & Temple, D. (2018). Unmanned aircraft systems can improve survey data collection. (RTI Press Publication No. RB-0018-1806). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2018.rb.0018.1806

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Stephanie EckmanStephanie Eckman, PhD, is a Fellow in the Survey Research Division at RTI International.

Joseph EyermanJoe Eyerman, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Security, Defense, and Safety at RTI International.

Dorota TempleDorota Temple, PhD, is a Distinguished Fellow in Electronics and Applied Physics at RTI International.

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