Type of Job/Services Completed:  Roof Inspection, Orthomosaic Imaging, and Thermography

Location of Job: New Jersey

The Problem

The customer needed roof inspections completed for two condo associations, each with around 30 buildings. ABJ Drones was engaged to complete the roof inspections so the client could check the current state of the rooves and look for leaky and deficient conditions. The customer also requested a thermal inspection of each roof to look for water damage and other issues.

ABJ Drones Solution

ABJ Drones took high-resolution orthomosaics of each neighborhood, covering all buildings in the respective condo association in a single map. The images were detailed enough that the bulk of inspection work could be completed using only the maps. Infrared imagery was captured by orbiting each building and capturing images on a two second interval to ensure full coverage.

The imaging was performed using a DJI flying platform and Zenmuse camera. The drones were operated by a licensed and insured remote pilot in accordance with all local and federal laws, and relevant authorities were notified prior to all flights. All infrared data was captured by a certified thermographer. 

A brief overview of the process for capturing the visual imagery is described below.

  1. A review of the local area and airspace is conducted to determine if any special Federal Aviation Administration waivers or other permissions are required.
  2. A flight area and plan are developed in conjunction with the engineering firm, and a capture date and time are agreed upon.
  3. The flight plan is entered into a mobile application that enables semi-automatic flight while hooked up to the drone transmitter.
  4. On the date and time of the flight, the remote pilot drives to the location and starts the flight. The pilot maintains line of sight with the drone and monitors the flight to quickly regain manual control if a problem occurs.
  5. The drone flies in a grid pattern over the planned location, continually triggering the on-board camera at regular intervals.
  6. The images captured, typically between 500-2500, are loaded into photogrammetric software that merges data from all images and generates a large single orthophoto of the location. This data is sent to the engineering firm for further analysis.

For the thermal images, the pilot manually positions the drone over each roof to obtain geo-tagged thermal photos. The images are then analyzed through thermographic imaging software by a certified thermographer. Areas of note and concern are marked, and this data is sent to the engineering firm for further analysis.

ABJ Drones Benefits

There are many benefits to using ABJ Drones for roof inspections. Using images captured by drones, the customer was able to generate comprehensive roof inspections for each building without having to climb them, or even be on site. This saved the customer time and money, and was safer than traditional methods. The inclusion of infrared imaging also allowed them to expand their inspection tool-set and provide more information to their clients.

The traditional method for completing roof inspections includes walking each roof and taking pictures of all problem areas. This takes a considerable amount of time to complete for an entire neighborhood. And of course, it is inherently more dangerous than staying on the ground and flying a drone.

Drone inspections are paramount in uncovering damage to roofs and other structures because the cost of the drone inspection is far more financially viable than letting the damaged roof decay and decline to the point that it needs to be replaced entirely.