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How £7bn Brent Cross development manages drone data

One of London’s major regeneration sites has turned to GIS software provider Esri to improve its use of drones for image processing, groundworks surveys and communication with stakeholders.

Developers Argent Related and Barnet Council have adopted Esri’s Site Scan tool at the 180 acre Brent Cross Town project to manage its overall drone programme, replacing ad hoc flights with a “consistent framework”.

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.”

Outputs include 3D point clouds, which have helped construction managers, technical teams and contractors understand how changes in site topography will affect the site.

They can also be used for performing volumetric calculations on how much earth needs to be excavated and removed.

Videos, images and panoramas will be used to update investors, project teams and the public on the site’s progress. Legal teams will use them when working on leases with potential tenants.

Brent Cross Town is designed to deliver 6,700 new homes and 3m sq ft of office space, alongside new transport links, a high street and local amenities.

In September, the developers announced that they will introduce flying taxi infrastructure to Brent Cross Town by the middle of the decade.

The project is the first in Argent Related’s portfolio to use Site Scan, but the company plans to roll it out elsewhere in London, including at its King’s Cross and Tottenham Hale sites in order to meet growing demand for drone data.

Wydra said: “Deploying Site Scan at Brent Cross Town has streamlined how we carry out surveys, visualise large-scale developments and communicate site progress.

“Engineering is a precise school of activity and drones are a relatively new part of the workflow but now they are working alongside tried and tested engineering practices and surveying activities. Site Scan is helping to build a more coordinated and efficient way of managing our drone programmes and will soon move to other developments as we scale it across the business.”

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