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Drones take data collection to new heights, says ORBA presenter

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by Angela Gismondi

Drones are being used as a vital tool, collecting data and tracking progress on construction sites in order to allow project managers and general contractors to make more informed decisions and operate more efficiently.
The Kespry Drone system was one of the topics discussed at the two-day Ontario Road Builders’ Association convention held earlier this month. Mike Agnes, sales executive at Kespry, told the crowd the system delivers high resolution images of an entire worksite within hours of a drone flight.
The Kespry Drone system was one of the topics discussed at the two-day Ontario Road Builders’ Association convention held earlier this month. Mike Agnes, sales executive at Kespry, told the crowd the system delivers high resolution images of an entire worksite within hours of a drone flight. - Photo: KESPRY

That was the message from Mike Agnes, a sales executive at Kespry Drones, who kicked off day two of the Ontario Road Builders' Association's annual convention in Toronto earlier this month.

"The way in which we observe, collect and use geospatial intelligence information is evolving rapidly," Agnes said in an email to the Daily Commercial News. "Drones provide near real-time access to highly accurate information which helps us make better, more informed decisions."

Founded in 2013, Kespry is a leading general intelligence platform provider. The company develops drone hardware, software and cloud services. Kespry provides data solutions to the construction, aggregates and insurance industries in the United States, Canada, Northern Europe and Australia.

The benefits of using drones, and their accompanying software, is that construction site progress is more efficiently tracked, resources are more effectively managed, downtime is reduced and projects are more often kept on schedule and under budget, states the company.

'The Kespry solution' includes an iPad and the Kespry app that users utilize to plan and execute their flights, explained Agnes. Drones fly autonomously and aerial data is uploaded automatically to the secure Kespry Cloud.

"An autonomous Kespry drone is simple to use, with no need for joysticks or flight skills, gathers many more data points, so it is more accurate and makes it easy to capture field data more frequently for no extra cost, so the business is better informed and able to operate more effectively," Agnes stated.

Drones support a wide range of applications within the construction industry from basic asset tracking and site monitoring, to inventory control and cut and fill calculations, he noted. Any job site activity that requires constant access to accurate measurements or positional information is something that a drone-based solution can support and make more predictable and accurate. It also helps keep everyone working on the project updated and on the same page, he said.

The applications for drones in the construction industry are "extensive and quite honesty endless," said Agnes.

"Once the data has been automatically processed and made available...the information can be shared among any number of stakeholders on a project ranging from the client and prime contractor to subcontractors."

Current uses of the Kespry system include inventory management, productivity tracking, safety inspection, logistics and co-ordination and legal compliance, to name a few.

"The Kespry Drone system delivers high resolution images and 3-D point clouds of an entire worksite within hours of flying a Kespry drone," explained Agnes, adding a drone typically makes it much quicker to get usable data while reducing some of the safety risks.

"Drones provide an 'on demand,' safe and highly accurate alternative to acquiring survey grade topographic geospatial information. Traditional methods are labour intensive, put workers in harm's way on site, involve complex logistics management when co-ordinated with outside vendors and are infrequent.

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