construction progress tracking

Construction progress tracking with the Crane Camera

Pix4D’s Crane Camera solution has been adopted by construction companies worldwide to improve construction verification and validation.

The deliverables are used on a daily basis to rapidly detect design clashes or deviations from schedule, and update the project teams on the as-built situation.

Here are 3 reasons why you should also consider the Crane Camera solution.

1. Drones have limitations. The Crane Camera doesn’t.

The benefits of using drones on construction sites have largely been documented over the last few years. Combined with a professional photogrammetry software like Pix4Dmapper, drones are a quick and easy way of getting regular site surveys at low cost — in comparison to traditional surveying technologies. However, to be efficient with drones in construction, you have to take into account a few parameters and rules.

drone flying over a construction site and a crane camera installed at a crane
Drones are not always the best solution for construction monitoring

Repeatable flights

To be fully valuable when it comes to tracking construction site progress and inspection for design or schedule issues, drone flights have to be done on a regular basis. Because construction sites evolve very rapidly, just one drone flight from time to time on a multi-month and multi-phase project is not enough to give you the full picture at the right time.

Resources and flight permission

Construction companies can choose to fly drones and process results on their own, or they can use drone service providers to fly sites on their behalf and get usable deliverables. In both cases, if you want to fly regularly, it requires resources – human resources and time, or money – and most of all: permission to fly. Depending on country legislation or site location, obtaining flight permission can sometimes be a very difficult process.

Weather dependency

Let’s add another parameter: weather conditions. More and more drone flights must be planned ahead and what happens when the weather is not on your side? You have to postpone your flight and you might not get the data you need at this precise moment.

There is no limitation to the Crane Camera solution.

The Pix4D Crane Camera solution does not have to face rules and regulations nor weather conditions. It doesn’t need human resources or extra costs to run and deliver results. You get 2D maps and 3D models on an everyday basis, and if you wish, you can even get those more than once a day.

2. It’s a stand-alone solution

Feeling overwhelmed by construction technology? The good news is: you don’t need any special skills to be able to use the crane camera solution on your jobsite and the results.

Reliable system

The Crane Camera solution consists of an advanced camera system installed on tower cranes and is connected to Pix4Dcloud Advanced platform. Fully autonomous and powered by the crane, the camera is mounted on the crane jib for the entire duration of the project. The camera system is weatherproof and designed to withstand crane vibrations so it doesn’t affect the system precision nor the sharpness of the images captured.

Fully automated workflow

The camera system is equipped with a firmware configured to automatically collect images of your site every day at the same hour and during the same period of time. It’s easy to control the system and change its settings remotely if needed. The system also includes GPS/IMU navigation sensors that enable the image capture when the crane is operating and also prevent the system from capturing the same image/position twice.

Every day the system automatically collects the images for you and transfers them to the Pix4Dcloud Advanced via a 4G connection or WiFi. This is done during the normal operation of the crane, the crane operator does not have to do anything different from his normal work. Those images are then processed automatically by the Pix4Dcloud Advanced platform to be converted into 2D scaled and georeferenced orthophotos, 3D point clouds, 3D mesh models and 2D elevation maps.

Daily progress images of a construction site.
Day-after-day, you can monitor the as-built situation in 2D and 3D

3. Remote as-built updates from multiple sites on a daily basis

The increasing complexity of construction projects has raised the bar on performance and productivity. Managing a construction project to meet productivity targets is not an easy task, especially when you have to manage more than one site at a time. The lack of transparency on the progress situation and the fragmented communication across teams are recurring problems we want to overcome with the crane camera solution.

No site access or human intervention required

The solution helps you to save resources and a huge amount of time that would usually be spent on searching for the correct and most up-to-date information on the as-builts. With the crane camera, there is no human intervention needed on site to perform site surveys and subsequently no work disruption. Once the system is mounted and fixed on the crane jib, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. You don’t have to go on site to collect data or ask for site updates. With this remote access to the as-built situation, you get real-time project visibility. And because everything is automated, you can easily monitor multiple projects at the same time.

Ready-to-use data accessible to everybody

For those who believe a CCTV camera or a standard camera viewing system could do the same job, let’s set the record straight. This crane camera is a unique combination of hardware, firmware and photogrammetry software which fully automatizes site surveys on a daily basis to get geo-referenced and scaled models.

The daily generated 2D orthographic maps and 3D models are available on the Pix4Dcloud Advanced platform where they can be measured, analyzed, compared with CAD drawings, and shared with all project members for collaboration and communication. Outputs can also be exported to third-party BIM software for further analysis, such as clash detection and design verification.

Two images showing progress on a construction site.
Measure, annotate the daily generated maps and models, and upload your CAD drawings to compare the as-built with the as-design.

Learn more about the Pix4D Crane Camera
Automated site visualization and documentation.

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