Better, Safer Solar Roof Surveys with Drones

May 9, 2019 9:00:00 AM  |  0 Comments
Avoid hazardous man-hours and get accurate roof information with drone technology.


Now you can plan rooftop solar installations, precisely and efficiently, before ever setting foot on a roof. In a fraction of the time of manual methods, drones collect detailed imagery that accurately reflect current roof conditions. This data can be processed into orthomosaics and annotated CAD files that are easy to import and use for solar system design.

More Efficient
Drones collect data 75% faster than manual methods and will drastically reduce repeat visits.

Improved Safety
Using drones can eliminate roof climbing from your system design and planning workflow.

Increased Accuracy
Drone imagery is high-resolution and captures real-time conditions, replacing outdated satellite imagery.

Better Data
Drone data is processed into quality CAD drawings and measurements, reducing human error.

Pilots fly a multi-rotor drone in a standard grid pattern, capture detailed images looking directly down onto the roof surface, and then upload those images for processing by expert data analysts. Within days, you’ll receive accurate measurements delivered in standard file formats for input into your CAD program of choice.

“We’re able to get measurements and CAD drawings done more accurately and efficiently than ever before. With drone data, we avoid repeat visits, which saves us time and cost in the long run.” Ligin Varghese, Engineering Manager, Moxie Solar

Data Collection – In-House or Outsourced?

You can use Measure’s professional, highly-trained pilots to fly the site and collect data or opt to develop an in-house team of pilots. Outsourcing gives you access to pilots who are already well-trained and experienced and who come with their own equipment, proper insurance, licenses, and any regulatory waivers required. Outsourcing will allow you to start using drone surveys more quickly and reduces the workload and operational complexity for your business.

On the other hand, in-sourcing might reduce your lead time and allow you to increase volume in the long run. On-staff pilots will likely be able to respond more quickly, which may be a better fit for businesses that require a high frequency of quick-turn roof surveys. Training existing roof surveyors to be drone pilots is also a good opportunity for employee development and retention.

If you’re interested in building your own team of expert drone pilots, Measure can help. Here are a few of the things you’ll need to get you up and running with an in-house drone program:

Hands-on, application-specific training to make sure your pilots know how to follow safe flying practices and collect quality data for roof surveys.

Measure can recommend and procure the proper drone equipment, sensors, and accessories best suited to your specific application, pilot skills, and budget.

Measure Ground Control software allows you to schedule missions, track equipment, collect flight logs, and store data all in one place. It includes an integrated flight application with automated grid flight patterns, making it easy to setup roof flight plans in advance and execute them efficiently on site.

Data Processing and Delivery
Once the data is properly collected, experienced data analysts will process your drone imagery into an RGB orthomosaic layer and CAD drafting files for upload into your CAD system. Drone technology delivers quality data for your solar roof plans including:

  • CAD file with roof measurements, elevations, and identification of vents, drains, obstructions, and shading
  • High-resolution RGB orthomosaic overlay for reference
  • Shade modeling showing impact of seasons and time of day
  • Available 3D models and thermal imaging

Files can be exported in .las, .rcp/.rcs, and other standard file formats you may require.


By using drones to collect roof survey data, you can receive detailed CAD files in a fraction of the time while eliminating the human error and hazardous man-hours involved with manual surveys.

Ready to start using drones for your solar roof surveys? Contact us today. 
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