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How To Measure A Roof With A Drone

Moving The Roofing Industry Forward

How to Measure A Roof with a Drone

Elevated is committed to moving the industry forward, and theyre doing it by tackling two big challenges.

First, Elevated needs innovative technology partners that share their vision. Without the right tools, theyre stuck with a slow manual measurement process, and dangerous climbs up ladders, which cause 81 percent of construction worker ER injuries. Were always looking for business development opportunities that help us improve the entire industry. We need high quality partners to do it, says James.

Second, James and his team must be able to demonstrate the viability of any new technology they use. Roofers typically inspect and measure roofs by hand because it allows them to closely analyze materials and damage while ensuring that measurements are accurate. As James explains, any new solution has to match or exceed the quality and accuracy of the traditional inspection process. We raise the bar constantly. If we use something new and its not standard, we have to prove that its better, he says.

Automated flight planning makes it simple for roofers to gather ultra-high-res imagery, measurements, and more.

Partners to Count On

The IMGING Inspection kit uses an Apple iPad or iPhone for the IMGING app, and taps into the powerful cameras and obstacle avoidance sensors in a custom-skinned DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone.

After collecting dozens of images, IMGING lets Elevated view 3D models with highly accurate, facet specific measurements.

So What Drone Should You Use For Roof Inspections

If you just need to be able to see the roof, then you can easily find a drone that costs less than $800 including camera, and offers at least 20 minutes of flight time. The drones listed below are capable of tasks such as checking checking for leaks and the condition of your shingles and chimney.

I did a mock roof inspection for my mom using this Autel X-Star drone.

How Drones Can Help Increase Sales

Speed up the bidding process

One employee can put together an estimate using a drone in a matter of minutes. Compare this to an hour or more to climb onto the roof, make the inspection and take photos, take measurements, then write out the estimate.

After a drone inspection is complete, the images are sent to the office where an experienced estimator reviews them and does the take-off based on the measurements provided by the drone. These measurements are more accurate than those done in the field, as human error is no longer a factor.

A bid is quickly written up and emailed to the customer. The whole process can be done in less than an hour, and the drone operator is already on to the next site. This allows your company to bid more work per day and get more sales.

Get better data

You can get high-quality images of damaged areas using a drone and the latest in imaging technology that you cant get from a person on the roof. Since the drone can hover directly over the damaged part of the roof and get at it from multiple angles, it is possible to get views that were not possible before.

Infrared imaging technology allows operators to see even old water damage while doing a roof inspection. Using the images, water can be traced to its source, helping your company target leak repairs to that spot. It is also possible to see the real extent of the damage, even what is not visible to the naked eye.

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Drones Are A Safer Cost

Falls are the leading cause of death on industrial job sites. With drones, you reduce, and in some cases eliminate, the need for ladder assists and boots-on-the-roof data collection.

The Beck Group a Dallas-based commercial architecture and construction company uses drones to perform remote roof inspections and cut the amount of time employees spend in dangerous areas. As Grant Hagen points out, if he can reduce time spent on a roof by three hours, thats three hours an employee is on the ground and out of harms way.

Any time you can limit putting your staff in a dangerous situation, its a win. Grant Hagen, VDC Manager at the Beck Group.

The Benefits Of Drones For Photography For Roofing Estimates

Drone Roof Inspections: What You Need to Know

Drone aerial photography produces high-resolution photographs of your roof, a powerful tool for residential roofers, commercial roofers, as well as solar installers basically anyone who needs to examine the intricate surfaces of any roof. Using drones, the Extreme Aerial team produces high-resolution photos and videos that give you extensive data about every inch of your roof. And we can package that data in various formats, so you can integrate and apply it with any of your industry tools and software.

So, out with the old, in with the new. Here are six reasons why you should use drone photography for roof inspections from here on out:

1. Drones are safer than manual roof inspections:

With falls being the leading cause of death and injury on industrial job sites, the use of aerial drone photography almost entirely avoids these hazardous issues. For structures with intricate architecture and designs, we use unmanned drones in order to access these possibly high-risk areas. Drone photography surveys the roof for you, eliminating the need for ladders and multiple people climbing onto a potentially dangerous surface. Avoid the risks of collapsing roofs, insect bites, and falling equipment.

2. You save time

3. Almost 100% accurate calculations

4. Drones wont burn a hole in your pocket

5. Aerial photography gives you access to in-depth data

6. Reduced labor costs means reduced insurance costs

Need a roofing inspection?

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How To Include Drone Imagery In Your Roofing Proposal

Roofgrafs roof measurement software offers users the ability to add any files theyd like as attachments to their roofing proposals, giving their clients a better idea of what work needs to be done on their home and why. Using this feature, you can upload your drone images or 3D models generated from any roof inspection software included with your drone right onto your quote for the homeowner to browse or save to their device.

Roofgrafs measurement tool also has the ability to measure directly off of drone imagery, rather than a satellite or aerial image, giving you the option to display the best view of the clients own home on the quote instead of a simple top-down view.

This feature is also incredibly useful if the house is a newer build that doesnt yet have any imagery available for it, or if its in a rural area where the image might not be as clear as a home located in an urban center.

To measure off of drone imagery with Roofgraf, all you need to do is select the upload my own imagery option after entering the propertys address and use one single roof measurement to set the scale for the rest of the roof lines. Then, trace out the roof as usual and let the roof measurement software handle the rest!

Drones And Roof Inspections

Were assuming that visitors to this page are roofing contractors, property managers, or roof consultants with a professional interest in finding an appropriate, high-quality drone specifically for roof inspection. We put this page together with that in mind.

Please note that if you are using a drone for a commercial purpose in the United States, you must go through the FAA process for becoming a drone pilot.

This includes registering your drone, getting an airworthiness certificate for your drone, and getting a remote pilot certificate.

If you are simply using a drone to look at your own roof, you dont need to do this.

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The Benefits Of Drones Today

How Can Drones Make Your Operations Better?

Using drones in the solar industry both opens up new possibilities and replaces existing work. Without drones, inspections are typically completed manually. For utility-scale solar farms, this means either traversing hundreds of acres and conducting the painstaking process of inspecting thousands of panels by hand, or, more commonly, inspecting only a sampling of panels in an effort to identify systemic issues. In some cases, high-cost inspections by small plane may be used. Inspecting rooftop systems, of course, involves the hazards of sending workers onto rooftops.

With drones, you can complete inspections in a fraction of the time, saving costs while avoiding hazardous man-hours and getting better data.

We are reducing high-risk activities by using new technologies to improve safety, increase efficiencies, and enhance overall company asset management, explains Assel Ayapova, Global Drone Program Manager for AES Corporation.

Save Time, Save Money

Last year, Measure conducted a study to compare the time, costs, and results of its 100% IR drone inspections to relevant manual inspection scenarios across four sites.

SITE 1: 100% IR drone inspection for maintenance of 74MW in Sunrall, MS compared to clamp testing with 20% IV curve tracing testing

SITE 2: 100% IR drone inspection for maintenance of 30MW in Spargue, CT compared to Voc/Isc testing at the combiner box with visual inspection



More Accurate Data

Why Use A Drone To Inspect A Roof

Drone Roof Measurements

There are two main reasons to use a drone when performing roof inspections: drones reduce or eliminate risk of injury, and they can save you an incredible amount of time.

According to a 2018 survey of general contractors, about 57% said they used drones. That number is still going up, and for good reason.

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Average Variations Fall Well Within Industry Benchmarks

When comparing roof area , the Haag Engineering study found that for the 13 roofs that were measured, variations between the manual and automatic measurements ranged from +1.2 percent to -2.7 percent per individual roof. The average difference of 0.6 percent was within the industry goals of +/- 2 percent. When comparing differences in absolute values, the average variation was 1.1 percent, still comfortably within the +/- 2 percent range.

Automated measurements were highly accurate on edge lengths when compared to manual measurements, and were thus shown as providing highly accurate area results.

It should be noted that these tests used GPS data gathered from sensors on the drone itself to provide scaling data. In the future, accuracy can be improved further by utilizing more precise scaling methods like ground control points or RTK GPS when the need is required.

Fly And Create A Measurable 3d Model In Minutes

As drone technology advances, so do the tools for drone based solutions. To plan your aerial drone roof inspection is PIX4Dcapture, our drone flight planning app, to create a mapping mission. This can be an automated flight, after which your drone pilot can upload the images to PIX4Dcloud, and get a 3D model in minutes using our inspection software. This model can then be used for measuring distances and visually inspecting the roof.

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How Long Does It Take To Inspect A Roof Using A Drone

The speed of a roof inspection using a drone from start to finish is faster than the traditional approach. Once the basic preparation is done, the inspection can take as fast as 5 to 20 minutes depending on the degree of detail required. The size of the roof is another factor to consider. But overall, drones for roof inspection are faster and more efficient.

Save Time By Using A Drone To Measure A Roof

Drone Solution for Digital Roofers

The rising popularity of drones in the roofing industry is no accident. Professional contractors everywhere are seeing the advantages of merging technology with their toolbox allowing increased safety, higher accuracy, less headaches, and the type of modern presentation clients now expect. Simply put, combining high-resolution drone imagery with a powerful roof measurement application means more sales. The days of spending 30+ minutes on a roof to calculate measurements only to lose the bid are becoming a thing of the past.

However, before operating a drone, be sure to carefully follow all local and federal laws and regulations. Many areas have recently made it necessary to acquire a drone license before taking flight. Others have restricted where drones can and cannot fly . A full list of your areas drone laws and regulations can be viewed HERE on the National Conference of State Legislatures website. And a full PDF of the FAAs Federal guidelines can be viewed HERE.

Once properly registered, your business will be ready for take-off, leaving a lasting impression on your clients while establishing yourself as an innovator in the industry.

Safe and successful flying out there!

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How Haag Engineering Conducted The Test

Experienced field surveyors independently measured 13 roofs using traditional survey methods, while independent pilots flew autonomous Kespry UAVs over these roofs to capture images and generate 3D models.

The Kespry UAV was part of a proprietary UAS platform, which included autonomous UAV flight and the capture of high-resolution imagery, as well as 3D processing in the cloud. Once the 3D data was generated, it was then transferred to a 3D intelligence platform where computer vision and machine learning algorithms detected the roof structure, classified edge types, and extracted accurate geometry and measurements for the entire roof, and then generated a detailed CAD model.

These automated measurementswhich included lengths for each roof edge, area and pitch for each roof plane were then compared with the manually collected measurements. Automated measurements were rounded to the nearest millimeter and manual measurements rounded to the nearly ¼ inch, even though measurement to the nearest inch is a typical industry practice.

Restricted Airspace For Drones

You cannot use a drone at all in some areas, so if the roof you want to inspect is in one of these areas, youre out of luck. Some drone manufacturers even use GPS to remotely disable their drones if the drone is in one of these areas.

These areas include national security installations, airports, prisons, and power plants.

If youd like to look up an address to check whether you can use your drone there, the drone manufacturer DJI provides a searchable map on their website that identifies restricted areas.

You can see and search the map on their web page Fly Safe Geo Zone Map. The map takes a minute or two to load the restricted areas, so be patient.

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Inspecting A Roof 10 Times Faster With Drone Mapping

Now, in just minutes, by using a drone and Pix4D software, you can get an online, measurable 3D model where you can pinpoint elements, measure distances, calculate areas , and share the annotated model with your team and clients. From simply capturing images you can get an in-depth understanding of the space you’re inspecting. Here’s an example of how inspecting a roof can be more efficient with drone mapping.

In this article

Dronedeploy Vs Roofsnap Which App Should You Use For Roof Measurements

RoofSnap Live Demo 3/21/2017 – Measuring Roofs & Estimating – Using a Drone Image

Ultimately the best application for getting roof measurements will depend on your needs. Both RoofSnap and DroneDeploy offer powerful features for getting detailed and accurate measurements.

If you or your business operates exclusively in the roofing industry, then RoofSnap is going to provide a better experience. You get specialized tools for creating and aligning your measurements, more detailed reports intended for the roofing industry, and RoofSnap can even function as a back-end project management tool to help you manage your various roofing projects. Using RoofSnap also requires you know the pitch of the facets for accurate measurements.

DroneDeploy, on the other hand, is better suited for construction firms. Its tools will not only allow you to get accurate measurements of roofs, but of other areas of your project as well. You can measure the volume stockpiles, determine how much material was moved in one day, and track the progress of your project with photo reports. Getting drone imagery is also essential for getting an updated view of your project.

The choice is up to you, but both RoofSnap and DroneDeploy demonstrate the power of aerial imagery and how you can use drones for actionable insights and data-driven decisions.

If youd like to learn more, or would like to learn more about our drone services or drone pilot jobs, simply follow dronegenuity on our social media channels:,,, and, and subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates.

About the Author

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Roof Report From Dronedeploy Is An End

Roof Report from DroneDeploy is a drone-based inspection and measurement solutions. Professionals in industries like roofing, insurance, and solar can now use a single tool to collect drone imagery and generate accurate roof measurements and reports in a matter of hours.

Weve been working closely with some of the largest solar and insurance companies in North America to bring our customers a reliable and accurate drone roofing solution, says Mike Winn, CEO of DroneDeploy.

Drone Roof Measurements : Roof Inspections

The rising popularity of drones in the roofing industry is no accident. Professional contractors everywhere are seeing the advantages of merging technology with their toolbox allowing increased safety, higher accuracy, less headaches, and the type of modern presentation clients now expect. Simply put, combining high-resolution drone imagery with a powerful roof measurement application means more sales. The days of spending 30+ minutes on a roof to calculate measurements only to lose the bid are becoming a thing of the past.

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Drone Roof Measurement Software

Drones are one of the hottest topics in the roofing industry today. The idea of using a high-tech flying camera to reduce your time spent on dangerous roofs is too tempting to ignore.

  • Inspect difficult to access roof sections & reduce time spent in the danger zone
  • Create detailed aerial measurement reports
  • Create professional quality footage of your projects that you can use later in your marketing material
  • Make a lasting impression on your customers & close more sales
  • Have fun at work & trick everyone into thinking you are a serious professional and not a big kid with a new toy.


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