As an aerial photographer I’m used to looking at the world from above, and getting the views that used to be so seldom seen. I used to fly RC aircraft long before the days when you could buy an off-the-shelf DJI quadcopter and take “aerial photography”. My work in the aerial field has got me thinking about drones in construction and architecture, which is also something I have a passion for. Something that I’ve perfected over the last few years and that ties in perfectly with my work has been the art of 3D Orthomosaic mapping, which allows us to see the building or subject from any angle in its context, and generate fly-bys and visualize that which doesn’t exist yet.. I have spent countless hours building 3D maps, zooming around, not restrained by gravity or objects, and then using the same model to plug into clients systems to drop in 3D designs that they were planning, to visualize how it would look..
Since the first moment that I took the sky I’ve been amazed, excited and overwhelmed by the possibilities that a high vantage point created, especially for the construction and architectural professions. I realized what I have been missing out on; the freedom and ability to view the clients projects from any angle with beautiful sweeping views. This is finally possible and does not require manned aircraft to spend countless (expensive) hours flying.
My research for Veuwr and Veuwr Aerials whilst writing this piece has revealed that there are many more possible applications for drones in construction and architecture than I first realized. I discovered that every stage of a construction or architectural project could benefit from UAS drone technology.
The drones that I fly go by many names; drone, quad copter, UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), UAS (unpiloted air system), and even multirotor aircraft. Experienced UAS pilots often have debates about what their drones should be called. I prefer to call my flying tools a UAS, although I often use “drone” because most people understand this term best. Sadly I believe that the term drone has a negative connotation to it in the minds of most people as they seem to connect the word with military drone such as the Predator and not the remote controlled harmless device that it is.
Let’s say for example that your firm is building a high-rise with amazing views of the city. Aerial photography for the construction industry can capture those exact views from any height and in any direction, while capturing the surrounding views from a high vantage point. Aerial high-resolution photos taken from an unmanned aircraft can be used for an extremely detailed site plan. At Veuwr Aerials we use photo-mapping software like Pix4D or Dronedeploy, which can create accurate 3D models of your construction site with the adjacent buildings and surroundings in the image. This aerial 3D model to extract contour maps, survey-grade orthomosaics site plans or an accurate 3D model which can then be imported into your preferred modeling software. This aerial 3D model can then be used as a base for your concept models, renderings, 3D printing along with countless other uses.
As the construction of your construction project begins capturing aerial progress photos and videos is easy, quick and inexpensive. The days have long passed for cameras mounted on manned aircraft – now unmanned UAS or drone such as the DJI Phantom 4 Pro or DJI Inspire 2 (both of which Veuwr Aerials flies) can be used to take off from a safe location, capture the images need to complete a 3D map, along with any other imagery that is required for the project, and come back and land within a matter of minutes. Our aircraft are also relatively quite and are extremely reliable and are therefore qualified to fly in an active construction site without interrupting any work. Unlike manned aircraft, UASs can capture videos along with photos from any height, angle, in much greater detail without spending the time and money that a manned aircraft would cost to fly. Our aerial systems are also easy to deploy and do not need a large team of people to fly.
COMPLETION + MARKETING
Once your project is finished, the imagery that you get from Veuwr Aerials can be used to highlight the features of the building or area that is being built up. Aerial photos of the site can explain how your design fits within the larger context. Aerial images from different elevated angles can help explain the form and design and show progress that takes place with every day and month that comes along. Aerial photos can also highlight sustainable features such as skylights, PV arrays and green roofs.
Aerial videos of construction can showcase the constructions size, shape, material, circulation and give a view of the building that simply couldn’t be gotten from the ground
It is clear that drones in construction and the supporting industries will only assist and not hinder progress. What remains to be seen however is how long it takes for the industries to catch up with the technologies and implement them in their workflow.