New Technology, New Opportunities
Landscaping is an evolving industry. New tools help crews become more efficient, while new types of products create aesthetically pleasing and durable results. One tool that has risen to the fore front of the landscape industry is UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) or drones for short. The pairing of a drone and software provides a landscaping company with a number of abilities. Site planning, 3D mapping, landscape photography and landscape video are all aspects that UAVs can achieve.
Landscape Site Planning
Often times in residential landscaping, a landscaper will use a site plan of a property that a client provides. When a site plan is unavailable, a combination of satellite maps and surveying will be used to provide accurate information. While Google Earth is a great tool, its photos are often out of date. A drone can provide current images of a site and surroundings within minutes that ensure accurate details with 4K resolution.
The informational pictures above are accurately taken 200 feet in the air by a drone. Each photo is geo-tagged with latitude and longitude coordinates. The coordinates facilitate the ability for the images to come together as one and to create size and scale. Distances can now be determined such as lot size, size of certain features etc. In the top left, there is a contour map that illustrates terrain changes and is ideal for discovering potential drainage solutions. To the right is a grid version of the 3D model, and the bottom picture shows how you can calculate areas, volumes etc. I used a polygon tool to encapsulate the deck for analysis and it instantly provides me with the numbers I need.
When a drone completes a fly-over of a site it takes over 100 images to grab a full grasp of the property. These images are great for 2D landscape design. However, we can also compile and reconstruct in 3D to present a ‘living’ image. We can now import the model into 3D landscape design software for landscape development. The 3D model provides the topography, the details of structures on site such as houses and sheds and other points of interest that would be factors to consider in a landscape design.
The model above is fully interactive so feel free to move around in the space! The model was generated by an online software called Altizure. They have free and cost options for drone enthusiasts and for the purpose of the blog it provides exactly what we need. You can also follow this link to check out a larger scale version.
One of the best parts about landscaping is the elements of a job coming together to create a beautiful and cohesive entity. Landscape photography captures the ideas, moments and tranquility of a well-done landscape. But, what if you could capture different elevations, angles and size? Drones can provide photos that exceed the capacity of terrestrial imagery. Photos that provide potential insight about grandiosity and intricate details.
The most exciting part about acquiring a drone for Silver Stone is landscape videography. In a visual world, a high definition video provides a unique experience for viewers. Walkthroughs, action shots, and elevations can be stitched together to create a seamless ideabook for potential outdoor living projects. Often still photos do not encapsulate the size of a project. By providing videos to the public they can envision the space and the potentiality.
The video is a compilation of a flight at Bunns Creek in Winnipeg. It shows the capabilties of the drone as well as the future possibilities.
Time to Fly
In the future we hope to use the Phantom 3 to it’s full potential. Recording sites from start to finish to show the evolution of a landscape is high on the list, but using the drone to streamline our 3D landscape design process is just as important. All in all, the future excites us, including the learning process that will entail with this new equipment!