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Five Ways To Use Drones In CRE (That Aren't Aerial Photos)

Drones and CRE are ramping up a beautiful partnership. The construction industry could have an $11B economic impact on the drone industry in the next four years and the real estate industry could have a $265M impact, according to estimates by Trumbull Unmanned. Trumbull founder/CEO Dyan Gibbens says one-tenth to one-fifth of the real estate photos she sees are taken via drone. But aerial photography only scratches the surface of what drones can do for the CRE world.


Gas Sensing

Trumbull has used a highly accurate gas sensor adapted from the Mars Rover to stream real-time analytics back to the user. They've mostly used it for methane sensing, but C02 can also be tracked. Dyan, who spoke at the ULI Fall Meeting's Changing World Speaker Series in Dallas on Tuesday, says the sensors can be used to track any gas.

Coastline Mapping

Buying or selling a property on the coast? Drones can map shorelines and compare changes over time. A citizen science project by DroneDeploy and The Nature Conservancy asked laypersons to submit drone imagery to illustrate El Nino's impact on shorelines in California this rainy season. 

Thermal Mapping

Drones offer a non-invasive way to diagnose HVAC and plumbing issues inside buildings and an inexpensive way to chart radiometric images on roofs using thermal mapping. Overlaying thermal maps on top of visible maps, for, say, a square block or neighborhood, can identify inconsistencies in energy usage, Dyan says.

Property Management

We already know listings with drone video footage get far more leads than products without, but you can use those images for management too. For the price of what it takes to fly a drone around a property every few weeks and show leaky roofs, bad siding, crumbling façades or the like, property managers could save themselves some dough by preventing potential maintenance issues. Not to mention, drone imagery is less expensive than scaffolding for high rises. 

Traffic Observation

Whether you're a retail owner looking to more accurately measure how many cars pass your center daily or a office rep measuring how traffic jams would impact potential tenants in a given building, drones can track traffic activity without the sophisticated equipment previously needed.