Drone Technology in Architecture, Engineering and Construction - A Strategic Guide to Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operation and Implementation
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Part 1: Introduction to Drone Practice 1

Chapter 1: How to Use This Book 3

Drones for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) 3

The Method Behind This Book 4

Who Can Use This Book? 4

The Book Road Map 5

About the Authors 7

Daniel Tal, ASLA, RLA 7

Jon Altschuld, ASLA, RLA 8

Important Contributor Justin Clark 9

Chapter 2: A Paradigm Shift in Viewing the World 11

The Breadth of Drone Applications Is Just Beginning to Be Discovered 12

Basic Drone Use 12

Current Breadth of Drone Use 13

The Future Breadth of Drone Use 16

The Risks of Drone Technology 17

Why Use Drones? 21

The Bottom Line on Drones 22

Chapter 3: Drone Data Visualization as a Full Cycle Tool 23

Advantages 23

Project Cycles 25

Written Proposal 26

Proposal Interview 26

Project Start Up 27

Concept Design and Design Development 27

Construction Administration 29

Post-Construction 29

Visual Communication 30

Defining Drone Data and Visualization 30

2D Concept Overlay 31

3D Concept Model Overlay 31

3D Mesh 31

Classified Point Clouds 33

Construction Analysis over the Internet 33

Contour CAD Line Work 34

Drone Photography 34

Drone Video Footage 34

Digital Elevation Model (DEM) 35

Plant Health 35

High-Resolution Orthorectified Image 35

Site Quantities and Takeoffs 36

Thermal Maps 38

Time-Based Site Comparisons 38

Part 2: Getting off the Ground 41

Chapter 4: Buy In 43

Return on Investment (ROI) 43

Start-Up Cost Estimate 44

Annual Expenditures 47

Rate of Return (ROR) 48

Commodity 48

Include in Proposals 49

Project Collaboration and Deferred Costs/Cost Savings 50

Intangible Values 51

Value Added Services 52

Training Costs 56

Remote 107 License 56

Software and Photogrammetry Training Costs 57

Permissions Costs 57

Chapter 5: Getting Started 58

AEC Drone Standard Features 58

Flying Skills 60

High Quality of Data 61

Power and Flight Time 61

Flight Controller Automations 61

Third Party Apps 62

Support and Troubleshooting 63

Drone Packages 63

Applications and Software 64

Device Apps 64

Categories 64

Flight Conditions 64

Video and Photo Recording 66

Photogrammetry 68

Insurance 71

Online Portals 71

Desktop Software 71

Photogrammetry 71

Photo Matching and Editing 71

Multimedia and Video Editing 72

Computer Hardware 72

CPU 73

GPU 73

RAM 73

Storage Memory 73

Chapter 6: Documentation, Permissions, and License 74

Professional Etiquette for Professional Practice 74

The Legal Rules 74

Part 107 76

Permissions – LAANC 77

Permissions – State, Agency, County, and City Regulations 80

Permissions – DJI FlySafe and Geo Zones 80

Insurance 80

Documentation 82

Chapter 7: Best Practices for Flying Drones 86

The Flying Mindset 86

Drone Flying Apps 87

Simulator Mode 88

Flight Operations 89

Takeoff 90

During Flight 91

Flight Area Awareness 91

Maintaining Visual Line of Site (VLOS) 92

Emergency Operations 94

Landing and Post-flight 95

Automated Flying 95

Pilot Control 95

Manual Intervention 95

Pre-flight Planning for Automated Flights 96

Part 3: Acquiring and Working with Drone Data 97

Chapter 8: Imagery and Videos 99

Photo and Video Quality 99

Using DJI Standard Apps 99

Image Geotag 101

Litchi Flight Planning Software 101

Litchi Smart Device App 103

Litchi Desktop Web Portal 104

Virtual Litchi Mission 104

Working with Drone Photos 106

Annotated Images 106

Photo Matches 107

Hand Sketch Photo Matches 107

Photoshop Photo Matches 107

3D Model Photo Matches 111

Working with Drone Videos 114

Pix4D (and Other) Animations 116

Chapter 9: Photogrammetry 117

What Is Photogrammetry? 117

Drones and Photogrammetry 118

Photogrammetry Accuracy and Precision 119

Ground Control Points 123

Collecting Data 124

RTK Drones, Ground Control Pads 131

Processing the Data 132

Processing Steps 134

Photogrammetry Project Comparisons 139

Project #1 – Rural Ranch 139

Project #2 – US-50 Little Blue Canyon 143

Photogrammetry Hardware 146

Photogrammetry Software 146

Chapter 10: Working with 3D Models 147

Point Cloud versus 3D Mesh 147

Working with Point Clouds and 3D Meshes 148

Viewing and Sharing Online 150

Third-Party Sites 152

Application 153

Viewing and Processing in the Cloud 153

Photogrammetry Software 153

Construction Management Viewing and Sharing Software 153

Working with and Manipulating the 3D Mesh 154

File Format 154

Point Cloud to Mesh 155

Mesh Decimation 155

Mesh Manipulation and Proposed Features 156

Chapter 11: The Future of UAVs 159

Final Word and Looking Ahead 163

Index 165

About the Author

Daniel Tal, ASLA is a registered landscape architect with over 22 years of experience. Daniel is the visualization and drone manager for DHM Design. He is the author of SketchUp for Site Design, Second Edition and Rendering in SketchUp. Daniel designs and operates 3D modeling software apps including www.suplacemaker.com and www.SketchUrbanPaint.com. He has a tutorial website at www.danieltal.com. Daniel speaks nationally on technology, provides lectures to universities and publishes blogs and articles.

Jon Altschuld, RLA is a licensed landscape architect with over 12 years' experience and is the founder and principal at Chinook Landscape Architecture (www.chinookLA.com) in Denver, CO. He is also an FAA registered remote pilot, and a board member of the Professional TrailBuilders Association (PTBA). In his career he has focused on using emerging technologies such as drone data collection and 3D visualization to approach complex design issues, often in environmentally sensitive areas. He has worked on projects ranging from major transportation corridors, to non-motorized trails master plans, to floodplain and habitat restorations. Jon also teaches workshops and gives professional training on SketchUp, Vue, CAD, Lumion, and Adobe Graphics programs within the AEC community.

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