A picture is worth 1,000 words, that is unless its vantage point is too distant to discern the desired details, a problem all too common among drones deployed to monitor the progress and quality of work performed at construction sites.
Not so with SiteAware, a cloud-based software solution for capturing and analyzing the reality of construction sites whose name — and name change — says it all. Until recently, the enterprise was named Dronomy, a moniker that placed more emphasis on the drone than the value it conveys to construction companies, in this instance, achieving unparalleled accuracy of actual site digitization and as-built conditions.
“The rebranding more clearly represents the value proposition our technology presents – providing valuable insights that increase productivity and savings,” says SiteAware Vice President, Business Development, Gil Mildworth. “In many ways, construction companies are behind in digitally monitoring what they build. Sporadic walks of the site — even those that involve photography — don’t provide a complete visual understanding of the entire project.”
Compounding the problem is that most drone solutions aren’t capable of achieving close proximity to structures and as-built conditions, chiefly because it involves deep technological-know how and a focus on serving the construction industry, as SiteAware has.
“A jobsite is is a complex and noisy environment to scan in and it takes a unique understanding and technology to achieve required outputs,” Mildworth noted.
Staffed with former drone researchers with the Israeli Airforce, including a former commander in the Airforce’s photogrammetry unit, the enterprise has developed software that not only accommodates autonomous flight to construction sites, but automatically transforms hundreds of images on the SiteAware Cloud, converting them to 2D, 3D, and 4D BIM models that achieve 1/2-in.-level accuracy. Resulting as-built models are readily available for viewing, sharing and analysis with the SiteAware Viewer and also can be compared with “as planned” CAD and BIM models.
“You can overlay one over the other with our cloud-based SiteAware Viewer and obtain invaluable insights about the project,” Mildworth said.
The resulting data yields rich analytics. “In addition to monitoring a project and its progress over time, stakeholders can identify potential problems before they present themselves down the line,” Mildworth said, noting that the realistic digital models allow users to “walk” their virtual site, identify issues, make observations and snapshot them to share with other project participants, such as owners and subcontractors.
Among other functions, the software issues 4D progress reports with advanced Automatic Change Detection algorithms that automatically depict conditions that have changed over time, highlighting the “delta” or alteration of conditions between models, so that contractors and other stakeholders can determine what has changed, whether by day, week, or month.
Data can be accessed by web browser, in an office setting, a remote location or on site. Further, information is stored on the SiteAware Cloud and can be accessed or downloaded to local drives. The solution also integrates with existing workflows generated by Procore, PlanGrid and, in the near future, Autodesk BIM 360, providing visual representations to accompany punch lists and RFIs.
“We supply the visuals,” Mildworth said. “Imagine the superintendent coordinating his subs in his weekly trade meeting, struggling with misunderstandings that wouldn’t occur if he had accompanying visual documentation that presented updated site conditions at the correct time.”
One factor of SiteAware’s success is its ability to define the accuracy of output models during planning and ensuring a proper and safe scan of the jobsite. Among other features, the SiteAware Planner automatically generates flight paths, ensuring visual line of sight consistency, in accordance with regulations such as Federal Aviation Administration Part 107. While in flight, the drone addresses obstacles at lower elevations as a result of real-time proprietary algorithms, resulting in a safe, incident-free missions. Further, scan missions can be consistently repeated at different times.
As a result, SiteAware is capable of producing its accurate, high-precision, objective visual outputs, allowing for unique advanced analysis. “It’s where the savings starts for customers,” Mildworth said.
In addition to Israel, SiteAware operates out of Denver, with its main focus on U.S. markets. Despite rebranding, the company has not altered its mission.
“SiteAware will continue to drive innovation in the construction market, aiming on adding insights and knowledge to construction through visual analytics of construction projects,” said Mildworth. “It is about both analysis tools as well as streamlining more of the construction process.”
This article was sponsored by SiteAware.