I think an initial topographical survey for your base area at start had been performed from the mothership in orbit revealing all the mineral deposits. Beyond the original base site (set up area for campaign mode) they could make it a fog of war and your ideas about the survey team abilities would be a wonderful enhancement for the sandbox mode for sure.
However, what the initial survey had missed was the locations of the nests or spawn points for the known native lifeforms and the potential archaeological sites referring to the original Aliens. Little clues or trinkets about those aliens and their way of life would enhance the game and maybe your team might get lucky for you whilst you concentrate on building your setllement.
All missions are optional according to command and you are free to build as you see fit as the governor. What about discovering beyond what is known in the good old fashioned way of exploration? It is in our human nature for the want to discover new things and sometimes that can be a good thing, but equally sometimes it can be a bad thing. We learn from our experiences and move on.
An archaeological or scientific survey team could search out those sites or stumble across one of the native nests and maybe get overwhelmed resulting in them been captured or succumbing to infection. Perhaps you can send a rescue squad to save them or just simply kill the infestation at source after finding your science team all dead?
Let's hope the mothership reads all the chatter going on at some point and gets back to us on snype.
PS. Not saying you have not, but be careful on what you do send over snype as you could be breaking regulations and put on charge for inappropriate behaviour and consequentially having your privilages reduced or worse still removed. I heard about it somewhere.