Fun stuff! One of the things that I just started to have actual fun with my drones, lol, is to document old churches, barns and historic homes in Central Texas. It seems like a grandiose idea but I would love to create a website of 3D models of these historic structures. I feel that this is an opportunity to preserve history in a way that was not even possible 5-10 years ago. Besides just being fun it will be great practice because these old structures have much more intricate detail than most modern buildings which can be very hard to reconstruct.
Back to the topic… I found that this is one of those things that seems a little intimidating up front because you need to cold call people but despite what we all hear on the news I find that people are very receptive to drones when approached professionally.
One of the things that I do whenever we are constructing a new subdivision or new section of an existing subdivision and I need to fly considerably over the houses is to leave a business card with a sticker on the back stating exactly what we are doing but in your case it would be a proposal of what you would like to do. Just something simple and brief that doesn’t sound like a sales call. I was able to just slide them in the doors but in your situation you might think about mailing something. A nice themed postcard might be a cool throwback. Funny thing is that of probably 100 or so cards that I have put out so far I have only been contacted maybe 10 times and every one of them were interested in learning more, two of which actually wanted to come out and watch. As far as some sort of compensation a lot of people would probably appreciate just some pictures and maybe a video. I would say though that if you can do property that the structure is on that the owner might like a map. Who knows, maybe it turns into referrals…
That said it is a sticky situation where technically you don’t need permission as long as there is no restricted airspace but common sense and manners go a long way. It’s really good to hear that someone is thinking of these things. I will say though that modeling is a different mindset then mapping. Mapping is not as big of a deal because the drone is constantly moving at speed and obviously in a pattern that does not loiter. Modeling odd structures tends to be a process where considerable manual flying will produce the best results. That is unless you have a Skydio and the 3D Scan option.
The last thing that I will say is that DroneDeploy may not be the best solution for modeling structures if you want a really fine detail model. My first recognization would be Reality Capture which is a great option for low volume modeling because you can do it on your local machine and pay for usage rather than a subscription. Pix4D is also a good option but it is not on the same level as RC.