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Two months ago, the new FAA Part 107 regulations went into effect and over 19,000 individuals have become certified as remote pilots. Two days later we launched Site Scan with the Sony R10C camera. It’s been amazing to see how engineering firms like Kimley Horn are using data collected from drones to create design surfaces and how surveying firms like McKim & Creed have achieved accuracy results that meet or exceed survey-grade tools.

In working with our construction customers, we’ve observed some interesting trends. Like for example, the pace of technological developments and adoption in the design and planning phase of construction has far outpaced the pace of technological improvements in the field. So now it takes minutes for an engineer to combine multiple designs and run a “clash report” in Navisworks, but if you want to see whether something happening in the field clashes with the design, you’re left with tape measures and guesstimates.

Cost overruns and delays occur when the realities of the physical world are out of alignment with the plans of the digital world. The missing link in field construction technology has been the integration of site-wide survey-grade imagery, perfectly overlaid with BIM design data.

Site Scan Updates

We’re proud to announce some new features geared at ending construction delays, preventing the need for rework, accurately displaying progress, and aiding in defining change order requirements:

  • Save and Refly Job — Drone flight needs to be as simple as possible. With the new “Refly Job” button, individuals can do their regular check of an area for obstacles, set up the drone and tap one button to capture the data they need. Data is transferred from the drone to the iPad (no need to remove an SD card) then processed in the cloud and available to team members both in the field and in the office.
  • Vector Overlays — While images themselves are helpful, adding the designs and plans as a layer helps a superintendent identify mistakes before they cause issues and offers data that contractors can leverage to write change orders. Overlays can be printed out and shared in the field, displayed on an iPad at meetings led by the superintendents and stored for future record keeping.
  • Ground Control Points — A prerequisite to overlaying vector data is accurately placed imagery. This has always been possible with Site Scan, but now it’s easier with a space for users to input ground control point details.

During a beta of this Site Scan BIM functionality, a top 20 construction firm put the BIM feature to use on a large and complex commercial building project. Upon deploying Site Scan’s BIM technology, this firm was working through a vexing problem on site. After laying heating pipes required to prevent foundation freeze-thaw damage, it was clear to the site superintendent that the heating pipe was not positioned correctly relative to the foundation. For two days, the pipe laid uncovered and foundation work was put on hold, while engineers determined whether the pipe needed to be moved. By flying the drone with the BIM models overlaid, it instantly became clear what had occurred. The root cause was that the concrete footing had been over-poured, and the heating pipe had been relatively positioned to the over-poured footing. This was crucial in determining the action to take and ended the costly two day freeze on foundation work. Preventing a third day of delay (or more) provided an ROI greater than the cost of Site Scan within the first day of use.

These features could not have been possible without the direct integration of Site Scan and Autodesk products. It delivers not just more data, but better data, thus erasing the need to budget and plan for anticipated conflict.

“3DR Site Scan is a powerful complement to BIM 360, Autodesk’s comprehensive BIM offering,” said Scott Reese, VP of cloud platforms at Autodesk. “Site Scan overlays high-resolution drone imagery with as-planned site information pulled from our BIM 360 tools, allowing customers to identify potential mistakes, end project delays and ultimately increase profitability. We are thrilled to see 3DR’s expanded use of Autodesk platforms and products.”