• Dan- Director/Chief Pilot

Aerial inspections for Lancaster City Council! Zoom inspections, Thermal inspection and land mapping

Updated: Mar 31

Last week saw Airmap Limited working in the north west of England across various sites, working in partnership with Lancaster City Council. Airmap Limited teamed up with Caelus Drone Services to undertake 17 separate flights across 3 locations within the Lancaster area. This work was stopped 2 days short of the scheduled 5 due to COVID-19, but that didn't stop us from pulling out all the stops and completing 85% of the tasks in hand! Between Airmap Limited and Caelus Drones, this was an outstanding achievement.

From reading the brief sheets (only 2 weeks ago) It was clear that LCC wanted various aerial drone work to help analyse a whole range of potential issues across multiple locations within their borough. These included high level zoom inspection surveys of multiple high rise accommodation blocks, thermal inspections of leisure centres, high rise blocks and council run accommodation suits, to help identify potential heat loss and thermal efficiency. The council also required our AIRscan mapping service to land map a 148,500sqm location for an upcoming proposed solar farm project, starting early 2021. It was clear from the outset that this project would need detailed and thorougher planning!

Our first day took us to Salt Ayre Leisure Centre. This day consisted of 3 timed thermography inspections, 11:00/15:00/18:00. This public centre is under review to see where improvements can be made to the efficiency of the fabric of the building. Our designated flight times would highlight peak times in public footfall, illustrating the clearest results for potential heat loss. We captured the thermal imagery with radiometric properties, meaning that each image captured on the day has radiometric information embedded within the files meta-data. This impressive technology will now allow LCC to analyse individual pixels within the images, to give accurate surface temperatures at the very time the image was taken, in post production software. This level of flexibility offers clients a fantastic degree of data analysis, that can be called upon time and time again. Furthermore, should future thermal surveying be needed after the insulation works have been completed, having the radiometric post analysis tool at their fingertips, will certainly prove invaluable for accurate numerical temperature comparisons of the two (pre-works/post-works).

After the works at the leisure centre had been completed, it was time to move onto the housing project. This brought several challenging factors given the location and activity of the general public. We worked extremely closely with the council to ensure no stone was left unturned in the planning and risk mitigation process. Helping draft a notice of aerial works was a further step, which was hand delivered to over 300 residents in the area of activity. During our pre-site surveys, we hand picked safe, and legal places to operate and take-off from. These take off and landing points were crucial for being able to access all areas of interest, keeping within constant visual line of sight of the aircraft, and also keeping within the CAA's separation distance of 50m, for areas not under our full control. Further in our aim to increase public safety, we had the points fully cordoned off with 30x30m Herras fencing, with an extra taped off boundary expanding our work area by +1m. Extra staff were also included within this specific area of the project to deal with any potential public incursions mid-flight. This level of exclusion when operating around public areas was an absolute must for both companies. Safety of all operators and members of the general public are paramount to all projects we undertake.

15 individual buildings were surveyed within the housing project. These consisted of both 30x zoom inspections, and also radiometric thermal inspections. Our findings throughout this project have been logged and written into our detailed survey and inspection reporting process, along with supplying all of the raw data and footage taken throughout the week.

The latter end of the project brought us to our final job, land mapping of a future solar farm construction site. This location is situated within the grounds of a large SUEZ recycling centre. Permissions to overfly this site were only obtained after presenting our flight proposal, RAMS, evidence of licence and proof of all relative insurances. The scale of the land mapping required tipped just over the 14.9 hectare mark. 467 individual images were captured during our autonomous flight mission, pre-programmed by the drone operator. Once post processed and geo-referanced, we now have a .DWG CAD package to deliver to the client that enables them to accurately measure the proposed location for planning and building requirements. This method of land surveying can cut man hours on the ground down by 75%. Aerial mapping is one of the fastest growing sectors within the drone industry, and we're delighted to be a part of it! Below are examples of data sets processed after the flight (including a cool fly through of the digital reconstruction of the mapped site)!

Airmap Limited offer a vast array of aerial solutions to help fault find, investigate, promote, build and streamline processes within all aspects of business. If you'd like to see what Airmap Limited can do for your business, please feel free to get in touch.

Dan Todd - Director at Airmap Limited

01484 362838



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