Construction Edition

Reality Capture Playbook

DroneDeploy is an easy-to-use reality capture tool that allows you to capture the jobsite from every angle with a drone, 360 camera, robot or smartphone, and then share the virtual jobsite with your team.

Here’s our guide to success.

An oil and gas worker using DroneDeploy on his tablet

What you'll learn from this playbook:

  • How to harness the power of intelligent, automated reality capture

  • How to gain full project visibility throughout the lifecycle

  • How to improve project-wide communication and reduce rework.


Benefits of reality capture in pre-construction

  • Communicate existing conditions to bidding trade partners

  • All images are mapped by date and location for future reference

  • Give stakeholders higher confidence in their proposal

  • Help the trades to coordinate prior to mobilization

  • Communicate important site logistics (e.g. laydown areas, parking, storage, offices, connex, dumpster locations)

Pre-site survey

Use reality capture to document existing site conditions prior to mobilization. Survey data can be shared with the project team, trade partners and other consultants to ensure everyone is familiar with the site.

Additionally, include a PDF of survey data in the contract for a comprehensive overview of the site.

Above ceiling investigation

Use reality capture to ensure that exploratory conditions, tie-in locations and equipment locations are all documented in an organized manner. This will provide a comprehensive site overview and aid in planning.

Enhanced site logistics

Capture access points, parking, loading zones and laydown areas for coordination prior to mobilizing. This information can be shared with the team and partners to ensure a smooth and efficient construction process.


The value of frequent reality capture throughout construction

  • Virtual access to the jobsite for internal team and stakeholders (architects, owners, etc)

  • Reference images for use during OAC meetings, trade partner meetings and daily huddles

  • Resolve trade damage claims

  • Mitigate risk and minimize rework

  • Stay on budget and on schedule



Critical capture milestones

  • Quantity reports

  • Cut/fill analysis

  • Overall site progress

Why it's important

Reality capture provides accurate snapshots of how much earthwork is on site at any given date. Compare progress over time. Contractors gain insights about the area’s topography and receive a survey that’s accurate down to the centimeter. Use DroneDeploy to produce an exact high-resolution map and 3D model of a job site – all processed in a matter of hours.

Underground utilities

Critical capture milestones

  • Existing conditions

  • Utility installation

  • Backfilling

  • Final grade

Why it's important

Reality capture of underground utilities means you'll be able to view components that have been covered later. This makes it easier to coordinate logistics with trade partners, including turnover of the site to the concrete vendor.

Use Case

Measuring material for removal

Reality capture at this phase can be useful for determining the root cause of efflorescence, spalling or water intrusion.

For example, water intrusion in the site work section such as tears, holes, and improper installation of vapor barriers can be documented with DroneDeploy.

Speed up surveying.
Slash exploration costs.


Critical capture milestones

  • Drilled piers

  • Foundation walls

  • Grade beams

Why it's important

Capturing the location of structural elements means you can ensure everything is in the right location before concrete is permanently placed.

View aerial imagery to get a holistic view of progress as foundations are being installed. Or use ground 360 imagery to inspect work installed and validate installation of key structural elements.


Concrete structure

Critical capture milestones

  • Rebar/post tension cables

  • Blockouts

  • Slab edges

  • Slab depressions

  • Mechanical sleeves

  • Steel embeds

Why it's important

After concrete has been placed, you can find missing sleeves or spacers, check forms for cleanliness and know where rebar and post-tension cables are in the slab – especially in the event core drilling is necessary.

This also allows VDC engineers to QC penetrations remotely, and it reduces the need for costly slab scanning.

Traditional surveys take weeks to complete and 
only provide linear point data. With DroneDeploy's photogrammetry mapping, we get elevation data
to create plans for equipment placements and 
pump sizes for fluid pump selection.

This data is very accurate and creates quick turnaround 
times for design proposals, allowing us to 
make faster decisions.

Matt Czuak, Sr. Virtual Construction Manager | CORE Construction

Steel Structure

Critical capture milestones

  • Steel beam and column installation progress

  • Detailed miscellaneous steel connections

  • Metal decking

  • Structural deck pours

Why it's important

Visually documenting progress of structural steel and decking on a weekly or monthly basis can help with quantity and schedule comparison.

Reality capture also aids with the verification of work completed, since the majority of the connections/members will be covered up by other elements in future phases.




Critical capture milestones

  • Progress of exterior framing

  • Waterproofing details

  • Wall System installation

  • Exterior penetrations

  • Exterior punchlist

Why it's important

Reality capture allows you to efficiently check the installation and quality of work at key exterior milestones.

With DroneDeploy, you can send drones on autonomous inspection missions to capture building exteriors – keeping team members out of dangerous conditions.

Use Case

Automated Facade Flights

Manually flying a façade can be challenging and cumbersome.

DroneDeploy makes this process easy, efficient, automated – and most importantly, safe.


Critical capture milestones

  • Quantity measurements of roofing progress

  • Final condition of roof at hand off

  • Insulation lay down areas and installation

  • Roofing membrane installation

  • Penetrations and roof drain install

  • Complex waterproofing transitions

Why it's important

Water intrusion is a common problem in construction. It can lead to serious issues such as mold growth, deterioration of building materials and structural damage.

Reality capture can help to resolve water issues, as the quality of work in place can be verified without having to open up the roofing system.


Interior framing

Critical capture milestones

  • Wood Backing locations

  • Wall penetrations

  • Misc Steel locations

  • Pre-rock

Why it's important

Reality capture at this stage means that once drywall has been hung, you can look back at past dates to see what's behind closed walls. This helps you to avoid unnecessary rework and protect your business from future damage related claims.

Mechanical, electrical, plumbing, flooring (MEPF)

Critical capture milestones

  • In-wall mechanical, electrical, plumbing rough "in"

  • Fire/smoke/sound caulking and insulation

  • Pre-rock inspections

  • Mechanical penthouse & room progression

Why it's important

Reality capture at this stage means that once drywall has been hung, you can look back at past dates to see what's behind closed walls.

This helps you to avoid unnecessary rework and protect your business from future damage related claims.

DroneDeploy's timeline of images helped us identify wall penetration firestop issues. It also helped us verify if we inserted backing for our equipment. This saved us about $70-100k in time and resources.

Dhakshan Potuhera, Innovation Analyst | McCarthy


Critical capture milestones

  • Interior finishes

  • Paint, tiling, flooring, etc

  • Punchlist items

  • Floor turnover to owner

  • Turnover to external vendors

Why it's important

Reality capture at this stage records the condition and quality of final finishes; including paint, flooring, tiling and other decorative elements.

Prior to other people moving into the space, documenting conditions helps to combat a potential punchlist of issues created by external vendors.


Close with confidence

DroneDeploy makes it easy to filter through photos you want to share, or export the entire document as an offline record for the owner at the end of the project.

Project Dashboard

With DroneDeploy, you have an internal company archive of all projects that can be used to reference with lessons learned and best practices when building similar projects.

A client was working remotely from Australia on a project that was based in Singapore. Visual verification of quality and completed work was easily carried out using DroneDeploy. Comparison between the design BIM and photos was also a good visual context for technical discussions.

The time savings estimated +500 man hours for a 6 month project.

David Pau, Project Manager | Obayashi Singapore

Unique Workflows Using DroneDeploy

Progress documentation


Best practices

Capture your job site weekly or bi-weekly. This will allow you to cover the most trafficked areas and reference back at any time stamp.DroneDeploy's SOP Guidelines can also help you establish your own best practices.

When to use the images:

  • Progress reports

  • Pay applications

  • Trade partner / OAC meetings

  • LEAN meetings

  • Marketing Pursuits


Best practices

Reality capture data can be used for monitoring work quality throughout the construction process, identifying and addressing issues and implementing quality control measures to prevent future problems.

When to use the images:

  • Inspection check lists

  • Preventing rework

  • Punchlist

Trade coordination

Best practices

Throughout the day, the hundreds of activities that take place are difficult to manage without having photos to use as a reference.

Use reality capture photos to talk through areas of the building as a helpful way of keeping everyone on the same page.

When to use the images:

  • Preconstruction bid reviews

  • Daily standup / huddles

  • Reviewing change orders / RFI's

  • Site logistics and lay down area

For our coordination meeting, we used photos almost the whole time. Now that the trades can see field conditions, it opens up entirely new coordination dialogue.

Mike Jakes, Manager - Construction Technology | XL Construction

Progress documentation

Critical capture milestones

  • Major equipment installation

  • Material storage (e.g. ensure duct is protected for certifications)

Why it's important: 

  • Address quality control by integrating BIM coordination model

  • Logistics planning in tight areas

  • Use for coordination in weekly meetings

  • Export drone data into other platforms



  • Create/add existing RFIs or observations

  • Embedded app experience

  • Single Sign On with existing accounts

  • Procore BIM comparison

  • Ability to sync drawings


  • Create/add existing RFIs

  • BIM comparison

  • Ability to sync issues

  • Embedded app experience

  • Ability to sync drawings

  • Single Sign On with existing accounts

Today, we’ve got everything linked with Procore - from a project’s floor plans, to its foundation, to its civil site utility drawings. And every time we have a revision, it's auto-synced from Procore into DroneDeploy.

Michael Gekas, VDC Director | McCownGordon Construction

Feature spotlights
Company analytics

Enterprise & project dashboards

Use DroneDeploy's Enterprise Dashboard to see how frequently, and where, your interior images are being captured and viewed on projects across the company.

Feature spotlight

Automated reports

Progress Media, stockpile, and more

Automate reporting from DroneDeploy to send to external stakeholders. You can adjust both the interval of reporting and the people the data gets sent to.


Ground robots are an increasingly popular tool for reality capture on construction sites. With DroneDeploy Robotics, you can:

  • Capture high-res images of building interiors

  • Carry multiple sensors (LiDAR, 360, PTZ)

  • Automate data capture missions 24/7

  • Upload data to the cloud for analysis

  • Track changes in buildings over time

  • Compare point cloud data with BIMs

Robots can capture LiDAR approximately 16x faster than terrestrial scanning. This can have a major impact on inspection times. For example, Turner Construction is using DroneDeploy and Boston Dynamics' Spot to cut site inspection times by 95%.

Streamline your operations. Maximize ROI.