Drone surveys are quickly becoming a valuable method in site safety. The adage is that drones are hazardous. However, that perspective is quickly changing as more people learn to appreciate the effectiveness that drone technology possesses for industries up and down the country.
The benefits of operating a drone are endless including improved health and safety hazards, the reduction of survey times, reduced site disruption and high survey fidelity. Most of these benefits result from the simple fact the drone operates overhead. Several years ago, if a surveyor wished to take an aerial view of a property, they would often be left stumped with the question: ‘how am I supposed to inspect that?’.
This question has been answered with the use of drones which will easily capture the necessary images for a full inspection and assessment.
Situated upon a blustery rooftop in South Wales, our own drones were recently put to the test to assist in capturing images of a roof belonging to a university building. Working alongside Platinum 3D Surveys, experts in measuring and modelling the built environment, we were tasked with capturing a detailed scan which would eventually assist in the redevelopment of the roof.
Faced with various risks such as an A-road situated towards the west of the building; a car park to the south; and pavements on the east and north, you may be left wondering why our drone survey was commissioned specifically to reduce the element of risk. Potential hazards facing us included:
- Parts of the roof which were condemned
- Double padlocked access doors which were closed for fear of the roof collapsing under inspection
- Lack of suitable positioning for a terrestrial laser scanner
However, where some environments can be hazardous, such as being based near an A-road, sending a drone in to survey an area gives a construction team vital information without endangering human health.
When the use of drones and their ability to work around such hazards can be seen first-hand, this is when the pendulum swings and the appreciation of this technology is embraced. A conventional surveyor, even with a long-range laser scanner, simply couldn’t do the job.
It is quite safe to say that drones have arrived as a significant and beneficial tool for surveyors to utilise. Eliminating various levels of risk, in the right hands and for the right job they offer a safe, rapid and high-fidelity alternative to traditional ground-based surveys. This project would have taken a professional surveyor two days to complete without the use of a drone, using a drone it was executed within half a day; saving a considerable amount of time and a significant cost.
- We used an Inspire 2 aircraft and captured 500 images of the roof from various angles
- Imagery was processed in both Pix4D and Drone Deploy for cross-comparison
- Captured the full roof area to a resolution of 6mm
- We trialled the presentation of inspection reports in Scopito and Trik which offer a user-friendly web interface for clients
- Captured edge-to-edge data without having to fly beyond the footprint of the roof, which is a key objective in minimising risk and staying within legal limitations
- The primary outputs were a point cloud bundle and a textured 3D mesh
- The point cloud was subsequently integrated into an existing laser scan of other parts of the building as the basis for modelling in Autodesk Revit.
Find out more about HALO Drones
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Further Reading: Thinking of buying a drone for conducting site surveys? Read about the right way to choose a drone for survey with our 6 Key Considerations.