In line with the forum’s goal of bringing energy industry leaders and end users together with the UAV/robotics/AI community to improve efficiency, safety and operations in the energy industry, PDS will be demonstrating some of the latest aerial thermal imaging capabilities – livestreaming thermal imagery and data from its equipment.
“The rapid adoption of aerial thermal imaging applications by the energy industry – especially for security, surveillance, surveys and inspections – make this a perfect time for such an exhange of ideas,” says PDS founder and president Wayne Franks. “We’re excited to be part of the discussion about how to take it to the next level – and to show the energy industry how it can benefit from our quickly growing array of capabilities.”
The Houston drone services company, he notes, recently upgraded its aerial thermal imaging equipment for greater power and efficiency. Its new drone, the DJI Matrice 210, is able to carry two cameras at once – the company’s new Zenmuse XT thermal camera (powered by FLIR) and the standard-vision DJI Zenmuse X5S. PDS has also updated to the most powerful, state-of-the-art zoom lens you can get – the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 14-42mm power zoom lens. This allows for more ground to be covered, from farther away, meanwhile producing the highest-resolution photos and highest-definition video.
“Stop by our booth – not only to see the technology in action for yourself – but to register for daily giveaways of Drone Wear™ hats and shirts,” says Franks.
Drone Wear™, a wholly owned subsidiary of Professional Drone Services of Texas, offers trendy apparel for drone enthusiasts as as active wear for anyone into active living.
Drones for construction – it’s the most popular application of unmanned aerial vehicles, right behind aerial photography and videography.
Drones have become much more than just the topic of debate about drone warfare. Over the last few years, due to the improvement of drone technology and the subsequent drop in drone price, the uses for aerial drones have become almost endless. From real estate sales to wedding photography, drones have proven to be extremely useful in many ways both professionally and recreationally. One avenue of drone use we’ll explore here is their contribution to construction projects. Here are just a few of the ways that aerial drones have become invaluable tools for construction projects today:
Making a Bid
If you’re in the construction business, you know how important it is to make a great first impression when pitching to a client. In order to get their business, you need to clearly demonstrate your vision for their project and show them you’re capable of achieving that vision more effectively than your competition. This is where using drones fir construction can help set you apart in the bidding process. Using drones, you can survey proposed construction sites aerially, and use the footage to demonstrate the feasibility of your proposed plan for the project. Drones can be equipped with much more than cameras; they can also carry geo-location and infrared sensors, which can create visually striking 3D models of a construction site. This can help a client visualize areas of risk and reward for the project, and impress them with your technological expertise at the same time.
Improving Survey Accuracy
Surveys are a vital part of a construction project, from pre-planning to completion. Aerial drone imagery, through video, lasers, and photography can help provide the most detailed and accurate land surveys using 2D and 3D maps. Surveys created by drones cover every possible angle and contain detailed site conditions that may be missed otherwise. When preparing a site before laying a foundation, the soil must be perfectly sculpted to the right grade and shape. Drones use lasers to daily scan the property to determine the readiness of the soil. The more accurate the project surveys, the more cost effective and efficient the construction project will be.
Tracking Construction Progress
Through the actual construction phase, drones can be used in many ways to increase the efficiency of project management and keep construction on schedule. Using drones for construction, you can track progress regularly, providing detailed progress reports. Drones can take daily assessments of project status, materials, and assets. If problems occur, drone video footage can provide a documented timeline of where the problem originated and how to rectify it through repair or design alterations. Drones also allow owners to view their property whenever they wish, providing them with knowledge and ease of mind about their project. Drone surveys can also be used to quickly and accurately demonstrate project progress in order to bill the client for the amount of the project that has been completed.
Increasing Construction Site Safety
Drones can provide consistent video security to a construction site, preventing intruders, theft, and other safety problems. Aerial imaging is also a much safer alternative to traditional inspections, as it keeps inspectors from having to personally walk through an unstable and possible hazardous construction site. Furthermore, drones equipped with thermal imaging can even detect dangers such as heat or gas leaks in the structure, or in the utility pipes underground.
Measuring Construction Materials
This is an amazing and little-known contribution of drones to construction projects. When you order construction materials like gravel, rock, sand, or concrete, it can be difficult to keep track of the amount of material remaining as the project continues. Automated aerial drones can fly over construction stockpiles and, within minutes, provide accurate volumetric measurements of the amount of material in stockpiles. Most drones can easily fly over 150 acres and measure up to 100 stockpiles, all within 30 minutes. This data is perfect for creating stockpile inventory reports and knowing when and how much to reorder construction materials. This helps keep a construction project on schedule by avoiding costly delays due to low materials, and keeps you on budget by avoiding over-ordering.
Assisting Project Inspections
Inspections are a somewhat inconvenient yet necessary part of any construction project. Using drones for construction, however, helps inspections go more smoothly by providing a thorough overview of your project, so you can take care of any issues before inspections occur. Aerial imagery can also help inspectors accomplish a safer, more accurate, more efficient inspection, which will speed up your construction project and get you the “green light” to continue more quickly.
In-House vs. Outsourced Drones
One common question about using drones for construction projects is whether drones should be bought and used in-house, or whether drone flights should be outsourced to a company that specializes in drone use. Drones are now more affordable than ever; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that purchasing and using a drone yourself will be the best choice for your project in the long run. There is much more to drone use than just the initial purchase; there are also additional parts, usage, and maintenance that will be needed. An employee would likely need to be trained to operate and maintain the drone, as well as to decipher and transfer its data into a usable form. If you aren’t able to fully utilize your drone for the purposes you need, then the drone won’t fully be worth the cost. We recommend hiring out your construction project drone needs to a professional, experienced drone company.
Here are some pros and cons of outsourcing vs. using drones in-house:
Outsourced Drone Usage:
• No cost to train or employ an operator
• Any liability belongs with the operation company
• Lower cost upfront
• Better data and results with drones, due to professional and experienced operators
• Drones will always be up-to-date with the latest technology
• Less control over drone usage
• Total cost can be higher
• Drone flights for surveys and inspections need to be planned in advance and scheduled
In-House Drone Usage:
• You keep full control of drone usage
• The drone can be kept for additional projects in the future
• No need to schedule flights ahead of time, they can be done on-demand with short notice (although a quality drone company will be flexible enough to accommodate short notice when needed)
• Long-term costs are usually lower
• You retain full liability for the drone
• Costs to train and pay one or more employees to operate the drone and transfer data accurately
• Less experienced operators
• Difficulty in keeping up with latest drone technology
• Higher costs upfront to pay for the drone
• Additional costs for drone maintenance and upgrades
Drones For Construction in Houston
Professional Drone Services of Texas is an expert in the latest aerial drone technology. We can help you finish your construction project in the most efficient way possible with real-time project tracking, progress reports, detailed surveys, and more. Along with regular video and photography, our quality drones and experienced operators can perform laser mapping, nighttime aerial photography, thermal and near-infrared imaging, and volumetric scans. Contact Professional Drone Services of Texas today to see how we can help you streamline your construction project.
Using drones for home and roof inspections is quickly becoming mainstream.
After all, harsh weather conditions like heat, rain and wind take their toll on roofs and home and business owners need a way to have them inspected safely, affordably and accurately.
Rotary-wing drone aircrafts (think of them as mini helicopters) can hover in place for extended periods of time, which makes them perfect for home and roof inspections. Drones can zoom in and out, take photographs and video even in the dark, and reach high roof areas and recessed crannies that an inspector would not be able to access.
Aerial inspection photography services have many purposes and benefits when it comes to completing home inspections for personal or professional use. Let’s take a look at a few of them here.
Drones For Roof Inspections
For home buyers and sellers, a roof inspection is a critical step in the buying/selling process. A home’s roof is one of its most expensive features, ranging in cost from $20,000 to $30,000 for full replacement; so of course, potential buyers want to know the condition of the roof before they purchase a property.
Drone footage provides home inspectors with extremely reliable data about the condition of a roof. Breton Woodford of AmeriSpec Inspection Services puts it this way: “A drone roofing inspection is a really great tool because you’re able to do a comprehensive roof inspection all without ever having to get up onto the roof and endanger yourself due to too steep of a pitch or to actually damage any of the roofing materials like clay tiles, or slate roofs, or even metal roofs you’re not supposed to be walking on.”
Aerial thermal imaging takes roof inspections to the next level, with special cameras like the ZenMuse XT (powered by FLIR) able to see water infiltration and energy leaks the human eye can’t.
Drones For Property Maintenance
Ever heard the phrase “knowledge is power”?
A drone home or roof inspection is a popular way for individuals to assess the condition of their home in order to make informed property maintenance decisions. Homeowners will find that a drone inspection is the most accurate and cost effective way to get a detailed overview of their property’s external condition. Drone footage can help you locate and diagnose potential structural problems before they worsen and lead to even more property damage through roof leaks or other structural weaknesses.
Drones For Pest Infestations
Do you have unwelcome furry critters visiting your garage or attic during nighttime hours?
Entry points for creatures like roof rats and squirrels are usually high up along rooflines and the corners of gables on a house, close to overhanging trees. Traditional manual inspections, however, often have difficulty reaching every nook and cranny to find these pest entry points. Even interior inspections miss holes easily because many corners of attics are impossible to reach internally.
A drone inspection, in contrast, can quickly locate holes and gaps where critters are getting through. An additional bonus is that drones can inspect homes at night, which is when most creatures enter dwellings. Drones are also quiet and can observe from a distance in order not to scare away approaching rats or squirrels, as a human inspector would. So if entry points have been difficult to detect, one fail-safe way to do it is for a drone to observe and film where the pests are actually entering and exiting from.
Drones For Storm Damage Inspections
Drone footage of hard-to-reach places on your home such as roof, gables, windows, siding, and other external features after a storm can provide an exact overview of all damage.
Drone photographs and videos give you quick, accurate proof to show your insurance company the extent of the storm damage. Drone footage also comes in handy to show your roofing contractor or general contractor so they know exactly what needs to be repaired. Even if no repairs or insurance claims are actually needed, a drone inspection after a major storm can provide you with peace of mind to know that your roof and siding is still waterproof and in good condition.
Drones For Construction or Remodeling
Perhaps you’re in the process of building a new home or having remodeling work done on your house. A quick fly-over by a professional drone company can show you the exact progress being made and allow you to inspect the quality of the work as it progresses. These visual construction or remodeling updates can help you guide contractors as they work on your home, or inform you as to problems that may require switching contractors altogether.
Drones For Real Estate Inspections
There are other aspects of a home’s exterior that are relevant to be inspected besides just the roof. If you’re preparing to sell a home, a comprehensive drone home inspection can help you focus your repairs where they’re most needed. You can also use the drone photographs and videos as marketing tools to show potential buyers the detailed condition of the entire property. Homebuyers should also consider having a thorough drone inspection done before signing on the dotted line.
Drone Home Inspections vs. Traditional Home Inspections
Here are just a few of the benefits of using drones for your home or roof inspection, compared to a traditional manual inspection:
Save Time. Regular manual inspections can take weeks or months to schedule in advance, because of the demand on inspectors’ time. Once the actual inspection takes place, it can be a matter of hours before it’s finished, especially if detailed viewing of hard-to-reach places on or above the roofline is needed. Drone home inspections, on the other hand, can be scheduled quickly and the inspection itself completed in under an hour.
Keep Records. Livestream drone footage directly to your home computer or laptop, or have the footage pre-recorded to watch later, whichever is more convenient for you. Either way, the photographs and video will be saved so that you can watch it repeatedly at your own convenience and keep it for your records.
Increase Safety. Inspecting a steep roof or other high area of a structure can be complicated and risky. With a drone inspection, no ladders, flashlights, hardhats, harnesses, or other safety equipment are needed! Avoid putting human lives in danger by choosing a drone roof inspection.
Improve Accuracy. Drones can zoom in and out easily, picking up details that the human eye could easily miss. Also, if you choose to live-stream your drone inspection, you can communicate with the pilot as he flies the drone, instructing him exactly what footage you would like captured. All of these features allow drones to pick up more details and achieve greater accuracy than a traditional home inspection.
No Risk of Damage. Traditional roof and home inspections can result in loose roof shingles, dented siding, or other property damage. Drones hover above and around the structures they inspect, so they never run the risk of damaging the roof or siding.
Save Money. Drone inspections are the most cost effective way to gauge the condition of your roof or property. Because they require less time and less manpower, you get more “bang for your buck” than you would with a traditional manual inspection.
Professional Drone Services of Texas
If you have questions about our drone inspection services, we’d be happy to guide you through the details of our drone inspection processes. Professional Drone Services of Texas is a local, Houston based, comprehensive drone services company that can fulfill all of your aerial photography needs. We’d love to talk with you for a free consultation about how our drones and pilots can help accomplish your home or roof inspection today. Feel free to contact us at (832) 856-8556.
Houston Drone Business Upgrades Equipment For Greater Efficiency, Immediacy
Until now, a Houston drone business had to make two flights for aerial thermal imaging projects like roof and equipment inspections – one with a thermal camera to detect an anomaly and then another with a standard-vision camera to confirm it.
That’s why Professional Drone Services is proud to announce its investment in a new DJI Matrice 210 drone that allows us to carry two cameras simultaneously – as well as the best thermal- and standard-vision aerial cameras on the market – the DJI Zenmuse XT (powered by FLIR) and the DJI Zenmuse X5S! We’ve also updated to the most powerful, state-of-the-art zoom lens you can get – the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 14-42mm power zoom lens.
“We’re extremely excited about being able to offer our clients the highest efficiency and reliability we can,” says Wayne Franks, owner and founder of Professional Drone Services of Texas. “When people are looking for a Houston drone business, we want to be their one-stop-shop, total solution.”
The new equipment, he explains, will not only give PDS the ability to offer a full range of thermal solutions and applications in just one flight, but protection against the harshest weather and the immediate downloading of data on site.
“The DJI Matrice 210 has been specially designed to be able to withstand – and fly in – wind and rain, so you don’t have to worry about project delays,” says pilot Hayden Franks. “And in addition to being able to watch the flight live on site, you can also have your data downloaded there, too. Of course, we can also livestream the flight to whatever location you wish and send the data there as soon as it’s collected.”
This is possible with PDS’ new Crystal Sky Monitor, which allows for the transfer of files straight from a tablet to a hard drive on site.
Here are the specifications for all our new components. Have a job that requires these technical capabilities? Get the ball rolling and contact us!
New Drone Services Equipment
The DJI Matrice 210 drone. Offering ultimate adaptability on the go, this new, industrial-grade done sports DJI’s first-ever dual camera mount for simultaneous thermal- and standard-color imagery. That makes it invaluable for such commercial tasks as inspections, firefighting, land surveying, agriculture and search-and-rescue missions in hard-to-approach areas. Able to fly up to 35 minutes with an operation range of 4.4 miles, the Matrice 210 also features a weather-resistant design with dual battery bays that can even heat up batteries in frigid weather. So if you’re looking for strength and reliability in the worst conditions, you really can’t find a better solution than this! The Crystal Sky Monitor allows for the immediate viewing and downloading of data on site if desired by the client.
The DJI ZenMuse XT thermal camera. If you want the best aerial thermal imaging in the world, you’ll only find it in this camera – guaranteed. Powered by FLIR – the world leader in the design and manufacture of thermal imaging cameras, The Zenmuse XT offers unrivaled expertise in gimbal technology and image transmission. Unlike most other thermal cameras, it’s able to give you pinpoint precision over very large areas, then saves them for analysis and reporting. In short, it’s the fastest, the best and the most reliable thermal camera you can buy.
The DJI X5S aerial camera. Equipped with an uprated Micro 4/3 sensor, the Zenmuse X5S has a dynamic range of 12.8 stops with a much improved signal to noise ratio and color sensitivity than the X5R. It supports up to eight standard M4/3 lenses (including zoom lenses) with focal lengths ranging from 9mm-45mm(equivalent to 18mm-90mm on a 35mm camera), allowing more creative flexibility. The new CineCore 2.0 image processing system on the Inspire 2makes the Zenmuse X5S capable of capturing 5.2K 30fps CinemaDNG video and Apple ProRes video as well as 4K 60fps using H.264 and 4K 30fpsusing H.265 (both at 100Mbps). Continuous DNG burst shooting at 20fps with 20.8MP images is also supported. The Zenmuse X5S was designed to keep pace with the rigors of high-end professional aerial imaging.
Professional Drone Services of Texas is among the top 50 aerial photography websites and blogs, according to Feedspot Blog Reader.
“We’re excited to have been included in this list, alongside some very well-known sites, like the Dronestagram blog, the DJI Aerial Photo Academy blog and the Reddit and Google News blogs for aerial photography,” says PDS owner and founder Wayne Franks. “What’s even better is that we actually rank in the top 20, since all the sites are ranked from 1 to 50, and we’re Number 19.”
Winners were chosen from the thousands of aerial photography websites in Feedspot’s index, using search and social metrics.
These blogs are ranked based on following criteria:
Google reputation and Google search ranking
Influence and popularity on Facebook, Twitter & other social media sites
The world’s largest multi-sport festival for businesses, organizations and institutions, the World Corporate Games will be held Nov. 17 through 19 at the Marriott Marquis Downtown, Discovery Green and other locations throughout downtown Houston.
“This is the first time the event will be back in the United States after a three-decade hiatus,” says PDS owner Wayne Franks, “and we’re proud to be providing dramatic aerial imagery of it for the community.”
Hosting the event will be the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority. The HCHSA is a government agency that maintains and oversees the bond debt service on the county’s professional sports stadiums, as well as assists with the sports marketing for the destinations.
“We’re very much looking forward to hosting 10 different countries here in Houston, and the help we’re getting from volunteers like PDS is pivotal to us being able to accomplish that,” says Chris Massey, director of events for the HCHSA. “It’s a great opportunity for Houston’s organizations to showcase what they can do along with Houston’s excellent spirit of hospitality.”
In the World Corporate Games, competitors wear the colors and logos of their organization and build confidence, loyalty and team spirit. Medals and Corporate Awards are presented to winning athletes and organizations.
The celebrations, parades and parties are all integral components of the Games experience.
Among those being documented by PDS are:
The opening parade at Discovery Green park (6 p.m. Nov. 17)
The outdoor block party by Lucky’s Pub Downtown and BBVA Compass Stadium (1 p.m. Nov. 18)
Competitions at the Houston Sportsplex (all day Nov. 18)
5k/10k at the T.C. Jester Park running trail (morning hours Nov. 18)
Dragon Boat at Buffalo Bayou, with a launch point at Marron Park (Nov. 18 and 19).
PDS and its wholly owned subsidiary, Drone Wear™, will also be at a sponsor booth from 4 to 9 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Health and Wellness Expo. Both businesses will be offering giveaways – a free photo and/or video session from PDS and a T-shirt and hat of your choice from Drone Wear™. So come on down to any one of these places during the event and say hello!
The one-day event, held Oct. 17 at Kingdom Builder’s Center, allowed local high-schoolers to use skills such as creativity, critical thinking, teamwork and communication while participating in activities related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
What is STEMFest?
StemFest is sponsored by the U.S. Army and offered by Ten80 Education, a Saratoga Springs, NY-based STEM education developer and publisher that also trains STEM educators.
PDS, a local drone services provider specializing in aerial photography, video and 3D mapping, specifically volunteered its time helping kids who chose UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) as one of the four event “paths.” The other paths at the STEMFest were computer science, leadership and design.
“We truly enjoy helping kids and having fun,” says PDS owner Wayne Franks. “This was the perfect way to accomplish both.”
Profession Drone Services of Texas at STEMFest
Specifically, PDS pilot Hayden Franks flew his DJI Phantom 4 drone for the kids, answered questions, helped them build their own rudimentary drones out of paper airplanes with Bluetooth propellers, and helped them fly simple SYMA drones.
Since drones are such a hot topic and popular hobby , Franks sees them as a great way to introduce young people to STEM careers.
Terri Stripling, Ten80 Education’s president and CEO, was glad students at the STEMFest are getting that introduction from local drone professionals .
Careers With Drones
“Even though we offer this event throughout the country, everywhere we go, the professionals are local,” says Stripling. “That way, we can point to local companies the kids could intern with.”
This is the first year UAVs have been a part of STEMFest – a “smart move,” according to PDS pilot Hayden Franks.
“Drones are revolutionizing business in so many ways – new careers are popping up all the time,” he says. “The world of drones is producing so much innovation and creating new jobs that haven’t even existed before. It’s a young industry, so it seems appropriate to introduce it to young minds.”
This homeowner in Fulshear (just northwest of Katy), for instance, contacted us for aerial photography that documented (for insurance purposes) the washout of a canal behind their house leading from the Brazos River:
The canal, normally 10 to 15 feet wide, with no flowing water, became a dangerous 30-foot drop and sinkhole that eroded almost half-an-acre into their property and now threatens the structural integrity of their foundation.
This documentation could not have happened by anyone with a camera on the ground, because of the danger of the sinkhole and the need for an aerial view over the trees. The turnaround on this project was 6 to 8 hours after receiving their call, with digital images emailed to them that they could view and edit.
“It was pretty scary standing on the edge of that sinkhole,” says Hayden Franks, the Professional Drone Services pilot on that job. “I’m just glad we’re able to provide this kind of service to the community and feel like we’re helping in some small way.”
Houston-based Professional Drone Services of Texas has been pitching in with Houston flood rescue and relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey, assessing flood levels around the Harris County sheriff’s constable’s office and courthouse in Spring, TX.
Specifically, PDS was taxed with flying the intersection of Cypresswood Drive and Steubner Airline Road to survey residential flooding along the notoriously flood-prone Cypress Creek area.
Hayden Franks, drone pilot with Professional Drone Services of Texas, helps survey flooding at the local sheriff’s office and courthouse in Spring, TX Aug. 30, 2017 in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. More at www,droneservicestx.com
“We were able to do this because of our airspace waiver for David Wayne Hooks Airport – even with a temporary flight restriction in place” explains Professional Drone Services of Texas pilot Hayden Franks. PDS also has airspace waivers for George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport.
Here are some shots of the flooding devastation captured by our drones:
This Aug. 30, 2017 drone image of Meyer Park in Spring, TX shows the devastating flooding in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. The image, of Meyer Park, taken by Professional Drone Services of Texas, looks directly down Cypresswood Drive towards Texas State Highway 249. More at www.droneservicestx.com/blog
This second picture shows the same view, but 100 yards further back:
Commercial drone services are required to get such waivers around airports and other areas where unmanned aerial vehicles may collide with other aircraft or compromise public safety or security (for instance, they weren’t allowed to fly anywhere near President Donald Trump when he came to Texas to show support for Hurricane Harvey flood victims.)
“Our hearts go out to all our neighbors in this tragedy, and we want to help in any way we can,” said PDS president and owner Wayne Franks.
If you need aerial imaging services to assess flood damage – or for any other reason – please don’t hesitate to contact us!