New drone software for UK town development

Brent Cross Town project from Argent Related and Barnet Council sees increased efficiency

Brent Cross Town, a new £7 billion (€8.4 billion) housing scheme in the UK, is using Site Scan drone flight management and image processing software from Esri UK to improve the efficiency of groundworks surveys and how it communicates progress of the new neighbourhood.

It’s the first project from developer Argent Related on which Site Scan has been deployed.

The software is being used to create 3D point clouds, textured meshes, video, and 360-degree panoramas, enabling highly accurate and consistent updates to be shared between all stakeholders as the development progresses.

The aim is to create a more consistent and efficient method of monitoring site progress and make the drone programme easier to manage across the project, which is being jointly developed by Argent Related and Barnet Council.

Previously, drone surveys were commissioned to third parties on an ad-hoc basis, with outputs defined by the business purpose they were satisfying, such as project management, logistical planning, marketing or legal.

Lily Wydra, GIS, land and property manager at Argent Related, said, “Before Site Scan, we had no pre-existing software specifically for planning flights or managing and processing drone imagery outputs.

“Now we have a consistent framework for managing all flights through our supply chain, processing images, creating high-quality geospatially-enabled outputs, and disseminating them to multiple stakeholders.”

Site Scan connects with Argent Related’s enterprise GIS, Esri ArcGIS, with the aim of enriching geospatial datasets.

According to the company, drone data can be quickly published into ArcGIS Online to enhance pre-existing online maps, including those on-site or shared with Barnet Council, which holds the development’s masterplan.

Argent Related said the regular drone surveys also proved invaluable for monitoring progress remotely during Covid-19 lockdowns, when site access was limited.

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