Two years ago, Scott Northrop got a drone as a birthday present. The first time he flew it, he knew he had something more than a toy — he had a business concept.
Northrop’s Drone Tech Imaging uses drones and other high-tech equipment to digitize structures and properties. The digital models have a number of uses: assessing physical condition, damage detection, remodel design, energy auditing, mapping, surveying, and more.
“On one local property we were able to assess which areas of the owner’s ranch were water stressed, tell them how much water was in their pond, indicate how many cows were on site, plus identify damage to the roof caused by heavy snowfall,” Northrop said.
Drone Tech offers many services for everyone from big, commercial developers to individual homeowners.
“We’ve done a lot of work in Teton and Park counties,” Northrop said. “Teton County owns a bunch of structures — the county courthouse, the jail, the admin building — we were able to 3D model the ‘as-built’ structures.”
With the data provided by DTI, the county can now give contractors to-the-inch-accurate measurements of pretty much every feature on the exterior or in the interior spaces.
“It’s great cost-saving technology for any asset owner,” he said. “We can continue to fly the property from year to year and make comparisons. If anything is out of whack — the property drops an inch from snow load — you can identify that immediately and make intelligent decisions about how to repair it or catch it when there’s only a few thousand dollars of damage instead of tens of thousands.”
Best of all, it’s remarkably affordable.
“For a standard 2,500-square-foot home, it would be around $400,” he said.
That includes the drone survey, which usually takes only 15 minutes or so, the data processing and fully interactive 3D models or whatever other kind of output is called for, with the product delivered usually within 48 hours.
“Honestly, every single person in the U.S. should do this,” Northrop said. “It’s data everyone needs.”