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How Drone Surveying Can Elevate Your Next Project

Jun 25, 2021 3:43:37 PM

The role of drones in real estate continues to evolve and is one of the most promising technologies in the building industry. As a relatively new addition to their repertoire of tools, many professionals don't yet fully understand how to utilize drone technology to the fullest.

drone survey picture

Image from drone survey of Thomas Chapel located on Williams College campus.

The Future is Now

Utilizing drone surveys is the most beneficial use of time to capture rich, accurate, color data rather than old methods of trying to capture existing conditions by just looking at the square footage. People are investing in this cutting-edge technology to elevate their projects while creating transparency for all key stakeholders.

drone for surveyingDJI Mavic Air2 Drone

How Does Drone Survey Work?

Here at Existing Conditions, all of our pilots are 107 certified and are registered with the United States government and the FAA. Getting certified by the FAA allows us and our clients to have peace of mind that we are going to operate a safe job site. Our drone survey process is controlled by a software program called Pix4D, which automates the flight process and allows the drone to fly up and capture a plethora of aerial photos of the site and the buildings around it. We then use these photos to create an orthomosaic, which essentially is taking these multiple drone images and creating one overall image. We do this by taking the drone images and stacking them all together and with the overlapping data and massive amounts of information that we’ve gathered it will provide you with the exact image and the exact conditions of your building. We are also able to provide clients drone videos of their site. You are able to pivot around the property, take measurements and see what your property accurately looks like without having to step foot on it. These drone videos will show the multiple cardinal directions, to capture every angle of the existing conditions of the area around their project. The flying process takes under 10 minutes to fly & capture these photos and gets developed in our software system in under an hour, making this process the fastest service we provide by far. 

The next step in our drone survey process is to plug the data into our software PIX4D and Revit Modeling and create accurate 3D Models of the properties we scan. These models are one of the most accessible tools we produce here at Existing Conditions. They are very easy to use, will show you what your property looks like, and can even be used for future project planning.

drone survey pictureDisplays the overall area to be photographed which includes the altitude of the flight & the time needed for the flight.

Why Drone Surveying is Important

There are several reasons why drone surveys can serve to benefit your projects. One reason being asset management, a preliminary drone survey shortens time spent on site and allows for an additional, aerial viewpoint of your building. As the drone is surveying the exterior, a team can also be laser scanning the interior. Drone surveying is a quick method to get the approximate square footage of a building by determining the perimeter dimension. It allows for quick and seamless documentation of the surrounding buildings as well, helping provide an overall understanding of the broader site conditions. This documentation will provide an in-depth view of what’s happening in the surrounding areas of your project with color photos. 

Drone surveying is a good solution for sites that are in unsafe conditions, which don't allow for typical laser scanning. These sites can include; inaccessible elevations, fire destruction, or active construction sites. There are many benefits of drone surveying, but the most important point to understand about the process is that it’s not relying on the last time a satellite flew over, it’s what was happening that day, giving you the most up-to-date information about the property. This cutting-edge technology will give you the richest detailed information of your site and helps you to start accurate and stay accurate on your projects.

drone survey operatorOur drone pilots Joe Sullivan (left) and Rob Donovan (right) on site.

The Benefits of Drone Surveying

Drone surveys can benefit architects, builders, and commercial real estate professionals in many ways. As a cost-effective asset management tool, a drone survey enhances the due diligence process by reducing errors in capturing data for a building/property. We define our drone survey as the newest valuable addition to getting the accurate existing conditions of their property.

When it comes to insurance companies, we understand the importance of capturing the current state of the building during the due diligence phase of a project. With our drone survey services, we can capture detailed imagery and video not only of the exterior built environment and aerial views of the property but also what's surrounding it. Insurers can get a clear picture of the current state of the property. Unfortunately, most project teams cannot depend on the imagery produced from the last time a satellite flew over the property. Using drones, we can provide what is happening on site at an exact moment in time. Insurance companies can utilize our drone services by making it a necessity for property inspections, which will inevitably reduce risks on their end and ensure that they truly understand what the property consists of. 

Real-estate developers can utilize our data when pitching to investors by demonstrating what is surrounding their property and explaining the immediate context from a birds-eye view. Developers can trust that they know what they are really working with and our services will help investors trust real estate developers with their property documentation, ensuring they know the ins and outs of their properties. High quality drone services not only provide eye-catching imagery but can also help show the value-add a proposed project could bring.

As a large portion of the Existing Conditions team has an architecture background, we know how useful our drone surveys can be for architects. Drone surveying can be a tool for large construction projects for mapping and aerial documentation. For example, it can help build a portfolio displaying how construction progresses for clients, projects, & RFPs. This kind of drone footage can be a huge asset to projects, as you can physically see how the building has progressed from inception to completion with an as-built scan to leverage for any future projects in your scope.

Get Started Today

As you can see, drone surveys add a tremendous amount of value and utility without delaying your project or requiring a burdensome cost. Connect with us today about how we can elevate your next project with drone surveying.

 

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Joe Sullivan

Written by Joe Sullivan

Joe Sullivan is a Senior Project Manager at Existing Conditions. As an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot, he also heads the company's UAV operations.

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