When Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire last April, many were left wondering how experts could repair this historic building. Architects and those tasked with the building’s repair wanted to keep the structure as true to the original form as possible. Their solution surprised many: Assassin’s Creed, the popular video game, had a replica cathedral as its centerpiece. While we haven’t seen yet how authorities are executing these plans, this precise 3D modeling and geotagged mapping can come in an even more accessible medium: drone technology. Around the world, we see firsthand how drone software helps record and inspect historical sites and buildings.
Assessing Historic Buildings
Historic buildings pose unique challenges in addition to common problems seen by property or facility managers because of the need to preserve the building’s original form. Preferably, the structural integrity of a building would not change and need little reinforcements. To keep this intact, surveyors must perform continual inspections to assess any damage and minimize risks. Traditionally, cranes, man lifts, and scaffolding help perform these inspections. These traditional methods come with their own set of obstacles as these processes are frequently costly, inefficient, and limiting in their viewpoint. Additionally, operations within the building required a shutdown to perform these checks. With a need to fully understand the extent of deterioration before drawing up new plans, architects and engineers can use drones to assess the situation safely from a bird’s eye view.
Take, for instance, the Iowa State Capital Building. This historical site (built in 1886) goes through frequent inspections to ensure complete preservation in the years to come. During the most recent examination, drone technology photographed the area and pinpointed any windows, stones, and roofing needing repairs. Compared to previous audits, drones cut time expended down to 1 day versus a full week. Plus, the digitized record of the building, both pre & post-repair, delivered accurate record-keeping and side-by-side analysis.
While drones are becoming more and more common in the inspection space (New York City is considering mandatory drones during each building evaluation), they can also be used to record historic sites for future repairs or educational materials. In Slovakia, over 2,000 cultural sites were photographed and digitized in a project sponsored by the national government. These 3D models produced by drone technology were accurate up to the 1-centimeter mark and were both more reliable and precise than satellite imagery.
While merely using drone hardware will provide you with an aerial view of your site to assess property damage or provide imagery for insurance claims, drone software is where you’ll receive the most valuable insights. Rather than putting a worker on the roof or around an unsound building, engineers can view their site in real-time using DroneDeploy’s Live Map. By furthering this process with Thermal Live Map, workers can spot leaks and water damage without putting themselves in the danger zone. Common repairs like weakened caulking, chipped mortar, or facade cracks can all be easily identified with drone imagery as well.
DroneDeploy also enables you to perform advanced photogrammetry and 3D modeling to fit your business’ unique needs. Annotations features are available in the Inspection Workflow to measure volume, location, distance, and area in-app. This finished product can be shared across teams and downloaded in a report format too, which allows for quick tracking over time via side-by-side overlays. The finished result is a safer, faster, and more accurate inspection. If you’re interested in using DroneDeploy in your operations, contact us, or begin your free trial.
Want more information on the drone industry? Download our State of the Drone Market 2020 report.