If you are using your drone to make money, the first step is to ensure you have your FAA Part 107 License. The next step is to have a preflight check and are thinking safety first. Not claiming I have a best practice but sharing to help and learn from those who do this daily.
Applications I use:
· DJI Go 4 with Smart Controller/ Tablet – Fly and capture photo/video
· Aloft/B4UFLY- Used it to look up weather and maps
· iAuditor- Preflight tracking and record tool
· Certifly – cloud base automate tool to capture roof picture
· iRoofing- cloud base tool to send images to create report/Measurements
· Adobe Photoshop – review and markup findings
· DJI Thermal Analytic tool – provides temperatures ranges to determine the current condition
· DJI Mavic Enterprise Dual & Advance
· Smart Controller
· Galaxy A7 tablet
· Safety Cones
· Yellow safety vest
The best practice is to have an observer when inspecting roofs, buildings, etc. If no observer, make sure you keep the drone in line of sight. If not possible to maintain a line of sight, keep it as brief as possible.
I fly about 3-5ft from the roof of a building. At this altitude, it allows me to capture the best possible images and video possible. Once I check all of the soft spots (vents), I will move from the left side of the roof ridge down to the middle, then the edge. Sweeping left to right, front to the back of the roof.
Once I’ve completed the roof inspection, I will fly to 200 ft AGL to take one final picture. These images are loaded into Certifly or iRoofing to build a report with measurements within a quarter inch. The data can be imported into Xactimate.
During the flight, you can view possible damage through your smart controller, cell, or tablet. Once back into the office, export the images into Adobe Photoshop or any photo editing tool. Just as if you were walking the roof, marking it up with chalk, you can use the tools to circle hail hits, heat blisters, creases caused by wind damage, etc. You can mark a 10x10 using the shingles as measurement makers and find the damage needed to meet insurance requirements.
Summer & Winter Activities
Summer brings great weather and clear skies. It also produces high temperatures that can damage batteries on drones if they are not stored right.
The challenge I faced was doorknocking kept me away from the truck for hours before I found a roof to fly over. The solution I found was to put the drones in their hard cases, then pack them in a large freezer bag with ice. At the same time, it was all locked in secured in the truck.
Cooler Times and Hiking
During cooler temperatures or when you want to go hiking, a solution I found is to use a backpack.
I hope this information helps those who are using Drones for work. I encourage you to share what you are doing so we all can benefit.