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5 Ways Drones Can Improve Construction Projects

No longer a futuristic vision, drones are now common on construction sites. Today, the business case for using drones in construction is clearer than it was even two years ago, and companies are already benefiting from their many uses. Here are 5 ways drones can improve your next construction project.

1. Prevent costly mistakes

Drones can be equipped with cameras, geo-location sensors, infrared sensors, and more to capture precise details about the environmental and physical site prior to and during construction. The high-resolution images captured by a drone are then turned into accurate 2D orthophotos and 3D models, creating a rich digital representation of your jobsite. Then, drone data platforms like 3DR Site Scan make it easy to overlay design files onto drone maps, enabling you to pinpoint constructability challenges in pre-construction spot mistakes, and measure progress during construction.

2. Provide Better Project Updates

Owners and other stakeholders understandably demand progress updates on a regular basis. This can be a pain for you, if you have to walk the site or send someone to take photos. Drones can make this aspect of the job both a painless experience for you, and a better experience for them.

When it comes to project updates, “drones can provide instant ROI,” says Josh Cheney, Industry Manager of Construction Technology at Autodesk. “Drones can be operated autonomously, on your own schedule.” Scheduling a regular flyover is simple and inexpensive, and provides rich data to share with project owners.

3. Improve safety

The leading cause of private sector worker fatalities on the construction site is falls, representing nearly 39% of all deaths. Drones can be used to keep workers’ feet planted firmly on the ground when they might otherwise have to climb to take manual measurements or engage in other activities that can be replaced with a drone.

4. Improve Collaboration

“Collaboration is key,” says Nico Bonnafoux, Senior Customer Success Architect at 3DR. “You save money if you get everyone moving in a unified direction.” Drones improve collaboration by collecting data on-site and distributing it through a platform like BIM 360. Virtual design teams, engineers, superintendents, owners, and contractors can then access aerial views and related data from their iPads and other devices. This enables everyone to see where things were yesterday, compare progress over time, and catch any discrepancies before they become serious problems.

“Collaboration is key. You save money if you get everyone moving in a unified direction.”

— Nico Bonnafoux, Senior Customer Success Architect, 3DR

5. Mitigate Risk

Contractors carry significant risk on every project. From being overbilled on one side, to being underpaid on the other, to mistakes, rework, missed deadlines, and legal challenges, few industries provide as many opportunities to lose money.

Data from drones can help mitigate many of these risks by identifying problems before they arise, providing accurate data regarding disputes, and documenting the process against legal challenges.

“For example,” says Bonnafoux, “one of our customers used their drone data to help win a dispute with a subcontractor who was significantly overcharging them. By having accurate daily site documentation, our customer quickly resolved the dispute and saved over $100,000 without having to go to court.”

Once a vision of the future, drones are here now, and their use in construction industry is only going to grow.



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The post 5 Ways Drones Can Improve Construction Projects appeared first on 3DR Site Scan - Commercial Drone Platform.

View 3D Meshes in Site Scan (and VR!)

As drones continue to take off in construction, more teams are getting used to collecting drone imagery and turning it into digital models of their jobsite. While it’s easy to view orthomosaics and point clouds in a platform like Site Scan, innovative construction teams want to go a step further and view rich 3D meshes directly in the browser, so they can have (and easily share) a high-resolution model of their project.

That’s why we’re excited to share that we’ve built a 3D mesh viewer directly into Site Scan Manager, our cloud-based web application. With processing powered by Autodesk ReCap and Pix4D, the industry leading 3D photogrammetry engines, you can view richer, more detailed models in Site Scan compared to any other drone platform. Also, through our enterprise platform, you can easily share this viewer with clients, teammates, and anyone else.

This capability enables construction teams in a variety of ways. For example, you may want to be able to see a detailed model of your site when planning work and sharing status updates in weekly team meetings. Or, perhaps your clients and other external stakeholders are looking for better visibility into your construction progress, and require frequent, detailed status updates no matter where they’re based. A 3D mesh viewer makes all of these use cases—and much more—easier than ever.

View your models in virtual reality, no export necessary

But that’s not all: not only can you view a 3D mesh in the browser, but you can use Site Scan to send it to your virtual reality device with the press of a button. No need to export your model to another platform: just connect your headset (you can start with an inexpensive Google Cardboard), turn on VR mode in the mesh viewer, and jump into a completely immersive experience.

Here’s a short video to show the complete workflow in action:

Want to learn more? Contact us to schedule a discovery call with one of our drone technology specialists and get a free Site Scan demo.

The post View 3D Meshes in Site Scan (and VR!) appeared first on 3DR Site Scan - Commercial Drone Platform.

Capture Better Aerial Data With Our 7 New Features

Today, we’re thrilled to share the latest improvements we’ve made to Site Scan Field, our mobile app built for flying various drones and capturing aerial data. We’ve added not one, not two, but seven new features, making it easier than ever for you to capture data accurately, effectively, and safely.

Read on to see what’s new!

1. Capture high-definition video


See how Argyle—who recorded the above video—uses Site Scan to make their as-built surveying workflow 5X faster

For Site Scan users with a Phantom 4 Pro, you can now capture video with any of our autonomous flight modes—area survey, crosshatch survey, and perimeter scan—along with our manual inspection mode.

Just switch on ‘Video Mode’ when planning a flight, and you can record high-definition video that can be used to provide progress updates to owners, create marketing materials, and much more.

2. Plan more accurate, effective flights


Now, you can view two additional layers of information while planning your flights: a map of your ground control points, and PDF’s of your design files.

By being able to view your ground control points before flying, it helps you design a flight plan that effectively covers each point, which will ultimately improve the accuracy of your data products.

With PDF overlays, you can view your design files while planning flights in Site Scan Field, which helps you ensure you’re staying within the boundaries of your site and capturing only the most important areas.

3. Easily avoid obstacles


Obstacle avoidance is now automatically activated on all of your Site Scan flights with a Phantom 4 Pro. This helps you fly safely and confidently: the Phantom 4 Pro can detect and avoid obstacles—on all four sides—that are up to 100 feet (30 metres) away.

4. Capture better data with single-altitude perimeter scan


Perimeter scan is our most advanced flight mode: it’s used to fly autonomously at multiple altitudes to capture vertical structures and facades, creating rich 3D models and point clouds.

Today, we’re making perimeter scan easier for you to get started with: now, you can fly a perimeter scan with just a single altitude. This helps you shoot progress photos and videos from all angles of your jobsite. Also, you can fly a single altitude perimeter scan and combine the pictures with area survey photos to create better data products.

5. Control who can fly your project


We’ve added operator licenses to Site Scan as part of our Enterprise platform, which gives you full control over who can and can’t fly your drones with the Site Scan Field mobile app. Read our new eBook, How to Build an Enterprise Drone Program, to learn more about how Site Scan can be used across large, multi-stakeholder organizations.

6. Fly crosshatch surveys at the right angle


Crosshatch surveys are a great way to capture oblique imagery. Now you can fly more effective crosshatch flights every time, because we’ve automatically set the gimbal angle to 35°, which is the optimal angle for the crosshatch flight mode.

7. Transfer media faster

We’ve added support for the Apple iPad SD card camera reader so you can quickly transfer photos and videos from your DJI Phantom 4 Pro. This is perfect for big video files, or if you have a large batch of photos that you want to start processing immediately.



Have questions? Want to see what else Site Scan can do? Schedule a call with one of our drone technology specialists to have an introductory chat. They’d be happy to help answer any questions you may have.

The post Capture Better Aerial Data With Our 7 New Features appeared first on 3DR Site Scan - Commercial Drone Platform.

New eBook: How to Build an Enterprise Drone Program

We’ve just published our latest eBook: How to Build an Enterprise Drone Program.


Large organizations—from ENR 400 firms to government agencies like state DOT’s—are looking to use drones on more of their projects.

Organizations of this size have some unique concerns. For example: how can they standardize drone operations across jobsites, share data with hundreds of people, and do so in a way that’s secure and easy to manage?

We’ve worked directly with industry leaders like PCL Construction and PARIC to help answer these questions and successfully build their enterprise drone programs. Now, we’re sharing our key insights with you in our latest eBook, a 25-page PDF filled with best practices and guiding principles to help you scale your own drone operations.

In this eBook, you’ll learn about:

Scalability: How to grow and manage drone operations and flights across multiple projects

Sharing: How to best give key stakeholders—clients, subcontractors, VDC teams, field personnel, and more—access to your drone maps and models

Security: How to store your data safely and securely—especially for government or confidential projects—and ensure you’re compliant with flight laws

It also includes exclusive interviews with VDC leaders from PCL Construction and PARIC, who share what they’ve learned by making drone data accessible to their whole team.

Grab your free copy and enjoy!

The post New eBook: How to Build an Enterprise Drone Program appeared first on 3DR Site Scan - Commercial Drone Platform.

3 New Features to Help You Analyze Your Drone Data

Wondering why the construction industry is using drones more than ever?

In a word: documentation.

Your jobsite changes quickly, and it’s tough to keep track of every moving piece. The aerial view of a drone has helped fix that by making it easy to capture your projects at key stages.

That was only the beginning, though: now that it’s easy for you to use drones to document your project, we’re focused on helping you get insight from the imagery you collect. That’s why, today, we’re introducing a suite of new features in Site Scan Manager, our web application, to help you better understand and manage your projects.

Read on to see what’s new, and if you want to learn more please request a web demo—we’d be happy to show you more of Site Scan and answer any questions you may have.

1. Quickly count objects like trees, cars, and more


Counting trees with Site Scan’s new counting annotation feature

Use Site Scan to track inventory and assets on your projects? Today, that gets a whole lot easier. We’ve added a counting annotation to Site Scan so you can quickly take stock of the objects that matter, including trees, cars, and much more.

You can also use the counting annotation to plot exactly where to place ground control points on your site.

2. View multiple orthomosaics on a single map


From highways to pipelines, open pit mines to airports, Site Scan is increasingly being used on large-scale jobs across the world. That’s why, for your projects that span across several miles, we’re giving you the ability to view multiple orthomosaics at once. This single, unified view makes it easier for you to see and analyze your entire project in one place.

Multi-ortho view in action: Arcadis, a global engineering consultancy, used this feature as part of their work with Site Scan on the Orbital Highway project in Qatar. Site Scan helped them map the entire 46-km roadway 10X faster than traditional methods. They captured over 15,000 images from one end of the highway to the other, creating 34 orthomosaics in total. With multi-ortho view, they were able to bring each of the 34 orthomosaics together and view them all at once.

3. See your flights in calendar view


Switch to monthly calendar view with a click

To make it easier to navigate and find specific flights, we’ve added a calendar view to Site Scan. With this monthly view, you can see your drone flights in the same format as the rest of your project schedule.



Join our February 21st webinar!

To see these features in action—along with our new LAANC integration and enterprise admin accounts platform—join our webinar on February 21st.

Save your seat!



The post 3 New Features to Help You Analyze Your Drone Data appeared first on 3DR Site Scan - Commercial Drone Platform.

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