Trends Spring 2017 - Page 20

allows those engineers new vantage points and new perspectives.” He emphasized that its use supplements – but does not replace – hands-on inspection work. National Bridge Inspection Standards dictate that inspectors must be able to physically touch what they’re inspecting when visual inspection reveals possible defects. But the inspecting engineer at a bridge, for example, could potentially use a drone to scout a project site, look for areas of special concern, and assist in documenting conditions for reports. “UAS is another tool in the toolbox to help the engineers do their jobs and help them make important decisions,” Krueger said. JUST GETTING STARTED The emerging technology is already proving to be helpful with construction observation and inspection. Ayres’ staff are currently using the drone to provide a photographic record of active construction at three of a major Wisconsin utility company’s substations. 20│ TRENDS “We can bring real-time images or answers to the project team,” explained Jason Ingram, Ayres’ survey manager, whose crew has been flying the sites approximately every two weeks since October. These images take standard before-and-after pictures at a project site to the next level by documenting the whole process – while also providing visual evidence of progress and monitoring equipment staging. “It gives them that overall perspective from the air of where they’re at in the project – a high-resolution, clear picture in something other than ground level,” Ingram said. Adams County’s Quinnell, for one, said she’s been impressed with the data she’s seen to date and pleased with Ayres’ easily understandable presentation of technical information. “Their professionalism and response time has been outstanding,” Quinnell said. “I’ve been very proud to be a part of this but not totally surprised because Ayres, as far as I’m concerned, has always been on the cutting edge.”