Capturing roof and building façade measurements has evolved significantly over the last decade. For years, the only way to capture this information was to have someone climb up a ladder and manually measure a roof or building façade with a tape measure.

In the late 2000s, companies like EagleView came along and pioneered the usage of aerial & satellite imagery to derive roof measurements.  While this was a huge improvement over previous measurement methods, the rapid development of drone hardware has made it possible to produce accurate measurements using an out-of-the-box drone.

Why Use Drones for Roof Measurements?
One of the main benefits of drones is their size and maneuverability.  This feature allows them to fly a few feet away from various building types and capture high-resolution imagery (sub-centimeter per pixel resolution) for residential, commercial, flat and metal roofs.

How Does it Work?
Once a drone inspection has been completed by a pilot in our on-demand network or by an in-house carrier pilot using our drone inspection software platform, all of the photos from the inspection are encrypted and uploaded into Betterview’s cloud storage system.  Photogrammetry software, powered by a lot of computing power, processes this imagery into a 3D point cloud, 3D model, and 2D orthomosaic map (think Google Maps but much higher resolution). The 3D point cloud data is then interpreted to produce measurements, such as:

  • Perimeter
  • Surface Area
  • Pitch
Betterview Roof Inspection and Measurement Reports
Sample Betterview Roof Measurement Report

These measurements can be made available as: PDF, wireframe overlay on top of the orthomosaic map and 3D model, or imported into other software platforms.

High Resolution Imagery = Better Accuracy
As we mentioned before, one of the benefits of drones is their ability to capture high-resolution imagery. Below you will see the differences in ground sample distance between satellite, aerial and drone imagery.

  • Satellite Imagery: Usually 30-50 centimeters per pixel resolution
  • Aerial Imagery: Usually 7-9 centimeters per pixel resolution
  • Drone Imagery: Sub-centimeter per pixel resolution

Note: For more information on this topic, check out our blog post Airplane vs. Satellite vs. Drone Imagery – What’s the difference?

This detailed imagery not only makes it possible for our computer vision to detect a quarter inch hail ding on an asphalt shingle roof, but it also allows for us to return extremely accurate roof measurements. How accurate?

In September 2017, Haag Engineering conducted an independent study, which compared manual rooftop measurements vs. drone rooftop measurements.  When the analysis was complete, it concluded that rooftop measurements using drones was 99.4% accurate.

The results of this study confirmed what we had known all along.  Not only are drones faster, safer, and more cost-effective at documenting roof conditions, but the imagery captured can be used to derive accurate measurements too!

For more information on our roof measurement reports, email us today at: