One of our premier partners contacted us a few days ago regarding a new job that had come up in Lake Park, Georgia – right on the border with Florida. The job was for a paving contractor that was about to put in new pavement for a large distribution center for a popular home department store. Typically in a situation like this they’d send out a surveyor to survey the entire asphalt pavement by taking pictures at designated spots throughout the parking lot, but in this case it would have taken days to survey all of the area! The paving contractor needed to submit their quote within a matter of days and couldn’t wait to get a team out there.
The paved area for this location was massive – the parking lot itself had parking for 2000 cars and the warehouse stretched over half a mile from end to the other. The paving contractor originally calculated the survey costs to be extremely high and immediately started looking for other options. Not long after this they found our aerial service partner who then referred the job to us.
The day of the scheduled flight I woke up early and double checked to ensure that no TFRs (Temporary Flight Restrictions) had been placed on the area as Trump was visiting the area. Once we had the legal all-clear to fly we double checked all of the batteries for our 3D Mapping Drone, the new DJI Phantom 4 Pro. All 6 batteries were fully charged and it was time to fly!
A short drive later we were on location and had met the on-site contact and obtained their go-ahead to fly in the area. They radioed their staff managers on site and informed them to expect a flying object and to have their truck drivers drive slowly and carefully to avoid a crash. After this we logged into our insurance partner, Verifly and obtained $1 million in liability insurance to cover our client and us in the unlikely scenario where there was a malfunction and our aerial drone crashed into any of the clients property.
The weather was a gusty 6 miles an hour from the North East, but that didn’t stop us. We were good to fly from every aspect and had just completed a safety inspection of our Phantom 4 Pro. Once our safety checklist was complete we completed the flight plan in our 3D mapping software, Drone Deploy and pressed fly. After this the Phantom 4 Pro took off on it’s own, flew through it’s waypoints and took the pictures that the software that was required to make a 3D orthomosaic map.
While the drone flew itself I monitored the drone from a high vantage point to make sure it didn’t come close to any objects or birds in the air, while my spotter kept an eye on the software to ensure nothing glitched and made sure all the images were being correctly captured.
Once the orthomosaic map imagery was all captured we swapped batteries and had the site manager take us around the entire warehouse pavement in a go-kart. We were following the drone and manually capturing 360 degree panoramas from 17 feet in the sky which would be used by the client to simulate a man inspecting and taking pictures of the asphalt pavement of the area. At the end of the day we had captured point-of-view 360 degree panoramas from 163 locations where the pavement had been cracked and damaged and needed to be resurfaced, as well as 70 acres of 3D orthomosaic mapping.
All in all we spent around 3 hours taking footage on location and created 38 gb of pictures. This is a LOT of imagery which then had to be compiled and sent to the client so that they could then create their quote for new pavement to be put in to replace the cracked and damaged areas. We estimate that we saved the paving contractor over $5,000 in pre-contract costs and gave them the aerial photographs and orthomosaic map which they then used to qoute the client in a manner that was more accurate, safe, and cheaper than it would have been without this technology.
Isn’t this amazing?