Drone roof inspection technology
As the drone industry has grown over the last years, the use of drones for work has grown. The building inspection business have embraced the drone technology, particularly for roof inspections. With drones, there’s no longer any need to climb up tall buildings or structure or to get up close with power lines to do inspections or to check for any damages.
Advantages of using a drone for inspection
- Reduce safety risks – It is usually difficult, risky and time-consuming to carry out roof inspections using traditional methods. The challenges increase with the complexity of the roof height and design of the building or structure. Risks include falls from the access equipment such as ladders, collapsing roofs, getting stuck in confined spaces, electrocution, etc. Drone roof inspection can reduce the risk to human life.
- Create 3D models – allow roofing contractors to view the structure or building in its entirety, or specific areas depending on the type of project. Estimators can quickly measure areas like these with point to point measurements.
- More efficient – Drones for this kind of job will do a complete, detailed inspection in no time at all with no risk to roof or the people doing the inspections. Using a drone allows inspection companies to finish jobs three times faster than traditional methods.
- Less equipment and personnel needed – An inspection company will come with a van full of ladders, ropes, cameras, harnesses, and measuring tapes to do a detailed inspection job. A drone-based roof inspector will arrive on-site with just the drone – nothing else.
- Cloud-based data and automated process – also known as “Cloud Processing Photogrammetry” are done via specially designed software that can automate almost the entire process. This ensures that the drone captures shots from all the essential angles and it is no room for human error.
Features to look for
- Flight stability – One of the most important features for drone roof inspection is stability. The drone must withstand the prevailing weather conditions including moderate and strong winds.
- High-resolution camera – When doing a roof inspection, you would want your videos and photos to be as detailed as possible. Nowadays, recording videos for professional use at a resolution below 4k is already unacceptable.
- Obstacle avoidance systems – To capture detailed shots or footage of a roof. Drone must fly close and low. It is not recommended to a drone to fly autonomously if it doesn’t come equipped with a good obstacle avoidance system.
- Thermal Camera – Thermal imaging cameras of drones allows inspectors to scan large areas for moisture trapped underneath roof membranes and look for the effects of structural issues. The thermal camera detects this temperature difference and displays it as colors – for example, dark tones indicating cold moisture or light tones indicating heat escaping through the uninsulated roof.
- GPS guidance/Satellite Positioning – Not only does it make controlling your drone much easier, but it also paves the road for many other advanced features which can be of great help, especially for a roof inspection. GPS allows several other smart flight modes including Orbit, Follow Mode, Waypoints etc.
- Long battery life – The longer the battery the better. Any drone that can fly for 25 minutes or more on a single battery cycle should do.
Software for drone-based inspection
- Roof Report by DroneDeploy – Accurate tools, instant detection, quickly and safely manage your portfolio with DroneDeploy Roof Reporting Insights. Automatically collect high resolution roof imagery and generate comprehensive roof reports 3x faster than traditional methods.
- EZ3D – a full software solution to quickly inspect, measure and document roofs with consumer drones. Automatically gather photos of the whole building exterior with a standard DJI drone and upload them to the cloud.
- Pix4D – A unique suites of photogrammetry software for drone mapping, surveying and inspection. Capture images with this app, process on desktop or cloud and create maps and 3D models.
- RoofSnap – is a measurement and estimating software solution designed for roofing businesses and insurance adjusters. RoofSnap manages material orders, blueprint and aerial measurements, contracts, and estimating.