Frequently Asked Questions
What financial benefit will it bring to my business?
The financial benefits are two-fold.
1. Data capture cost. This is much lower when carried out by UAV when compared to either manned aircraft, or by use of scaffolding / temporary work platforms. Surveys are also much quicker and only require the use of a single external supplier (and not multiple suppliers - e.g. a scaffolding contractor and a thermography company).
2. The value of the data captured. Reports supplied make it easier for customers to quickly understand the information, thereby minimising or eliminating data analysis time for them. Identifying thermal anomalies enables important decisions to be made earlier. For example, seeing the early signs of water ingress into a flat roof, invisible to the naked eye, allows it to be repaired where required, before further damage occurs and repair costs increase.
Is it safe?
Yes. To be able to carry out Aerial Surveys using UAV's, companies must have permission from the UK Civilian Aviation Authority (CAA). The CAA grant a Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) once they have reviewed a comprehensive Operations Manual from the aerial survey company, and seen that the company has taken a thorough approach to risk and safety management for all aspects of it's operations. It is also a requirement to hold Public Liability Insurance (PLI). Mapair Thermography has a PfCO from the CAA (ref. no. 4878) and holds £5million PLI.
What can be seen during the survey?
This depends greatly on the survey subject/target, and survey technique. Thermography is a powerful tool for 'seeing' temperature variations - Down to less than 1°C. When viewed from above, a larger area can be viewed which helps identify anomalies quickly, and in context. It is also possible to measure actual temperatures too, however significant care must be taken in order to establish credible temperature measurements. It is possible to review the live video feed of both the Thermal and RGB cameras during the survey, which is of great value when reacting to what is being seen, such as searching for the source of a water leak.
How long does it take?
The flying part of the survey can be relatively quick - In the range of 5 - 20 minutes, although mapping large areas may take longer, and may require multiple flights. Pre-survey planning and post-flight data analysis is also required, and is essential to ensure that a safe, efficient, and valuable survey is carried out. It can be possible to receive a full report within a week of the survey.
What preparation do customers need to make?
Mapair conducts a site review with customers before the survey takes place. This can be on the day of the survey or beforehand. This review will define the data that needs to be captured and how this will be done. The best place/s to take off and land will be established including identifying any hazards that must be be considered during the survey. Safety will be reviewed which may include ensuring that certain areas are cordoned off whilst the survey is taking place, and that staff are briefed accordingly. Survey times will also be discussed - For example it would be important that a building to be surveyed has had its heating on for a number of days prior to the survey to ensure it it thermal 'soaked'.
Can surveys be carried out at any time?
There are optimum times of the day / times of the year to carry out surveys to get the best results. For example conducting building insulation quality surveys is best completed when the building heating is on, the building warm, and the outside temperature is at least 10°C lower. Winter is therefore a better time for this.
What data or information is provided and who owns it?
The most basic data and information that can be provided are Thermal images (known as Thermograms), high quality RGB photos, and videos of both thermal and RGB data. It is often preferable, however, to carry out post survey data analysis further, in order to add the value that a trained Thermographer can bring. It is also possible to have Thermographic reports independently approved by a level 3 Thermographer if required.
The thermal data captured is 'Radiometric' - This means that data captured can be extensively analysed after the survey in order to visualise and understand temperature variations better. Thermal data is not just images.
All data captured during the survey is considered the property of customers, and will be supplied in full.
Do weather conditions matter?
Yes. Strong breezes affect results and must be considered. Flying in rain is also avoided, although flying shortly after it has rained can be very beneficial when looking for water penetration.
Survey dates and times may need to be reviewed and adjust according to weather conditions.
Can anyone with a drone / UAV do this?
Mapair Pilots are trained Thermographers. This is important as capturing thermal data is not the same as taking photos or video. Numerous factors such as a target's surface material content, it's emissivity, and the environmental reflected apparent temperature can greatly affect the result. It is possible to draw wrong survey conclusions if not considering such aspects.