3D Model Tall Buildings/Skyscraper

I was wondering if anybody had and tips or experience in the successful 3D modelling of a tall urban building? In an urban environment with other tall buildings surrounding the subject building, is it even possible to stay within the 400ft footprint? What about using a facade scanning tool like what is offered at: www.ugcs.com and then dronedeploy to process the images? Any info or expertise would be greatly appreciated.



Hi Tony. Yes, UgCS and SiteScan are both good options for vertical scanning. I have used SiteScan, but do not do many structures taller than 100ft and they are not huge footprints so they are pretty easy to capture with traditional flight plans and with some manual flight. Any images that are geotagged correctly can be processed by DroneDeploy, but there are I have not do any huge high-rises so I have not experienced how DD’s Structure Mode processing handles them.

Per section 107.51 (b) you can fly up to 400ft above the tallest structure as long as you are within a 400ft radius of that point.

Thank you, Michael. Yea, I’m wondering about the angles I will be able to achieve in order to capture all sides of the building. Also, wondering if I should try any of the Dronedeploy automated flightplan or just fly it manually.

They normally run at 60 degrees, but you should be good up to about 45 degrees. The main thing is that you don’t want to get too much background information that could confuse the processing.

Unfortunately DroneDeploy really doesn’t have a plan that will get the right shots. Everything besides Progress Photos tries to do a horizontal flight over the area and obviously that won’t work at an altitude lower than the top of the structure :scream: and Progress Photos 1) won’t capture enough images and 2) is hard to get a precise distance from the structure.

I believe both SiteScan and UgCS are paid apps. You could use DJI Go4 orbit mode and just decrease you altitude on the fly as it goes around? Same with Litchi. It is a paid app, but is only $25 for a perpetual license and has many other functions that are well worth it.

The altitude of the building is 475ft, so staying in the footprint won’t be a problem as it’s not impeding into any restricted airspace above. I guess I can just fly a few orbits around the building staying within the 400ft. I don’t remember, does the DJI Go4 POI function tell you how far you are away from the subject in ft, or miles?

I think an automated Dronedeploy 3D model “structures” plan might work as well. Just got to check the surrounding buildings.

With DJI Go4 you can fly to the center-point directly above the structure and use the Intelligent Flight Mode Point of Interest. You can set the radius 250-300ft :slight_smile: and while it is orbiting you should be able to use the left stick to decrease altitude.

  1. Let it make a full lap at the top altitude 300ft above the structure
  2. Drop just enough so that the bottom of the first lap is in the middle of the screen and make another full lap
  3. Repeat until you see the bottom of the structure.

I don’t recall if DJI has an interval (2 sec) timer for taking shots on it’s own, or you can take them manually.

The problem with the DD Structure mode is that you have to fly either a nadir or crosshatch before it will do the perimeter and you can’t do that in the middle of the structure.