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Heavy Construction News – Drones provide new perspective on job sites

Heavy Construction News

April 19, 2017 by Jacob Stoller

Photo provided by John Flemming, president, Ocean Contractors.

When PCL Construction needed to assess the condition of an Edmonton rooftop in mid-winter, they chose an alternative approach. “Instead of sending somebody up there to walk on the roof in icy conditions, we flew a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) over the roof and sent the video to the consultant,” says Mirra Maheden, senior virtual construction specialist for PCL. The video provided the necessary overview, and also allowed the consultant to zoom in on various details in order to complete the assessment.

UAV or drone adoption is one of the fastest growing uses of technology in construction, and inspecting icy rooftops is only one of many emerging applications leading to safer jobsites, better dissemination of information, and in some cases, precise measurement.

“We started looking into this about two years ago, and we’ve been using UAVs on project sites for about a year now,” says Sonny Shem, virtual construction manager for PCL. “It’s gone from discussing what we could do with drones, to actually getting out there and flying and capturing data.” PCL currently has a dozen pilots trained to fly drones effectively and in accordance with legal requirements.

The most common application, says Maheden, is relatively straightforward – progress videos, typically updated on a weekly basis, that give stakeholders a “big picture” view of how a job is progressing. “Videos allow managers to see the progress of the site from an aerial view, so they can assess which areas are progressing or lagging and compare that with their planning schedule. They can also send the video to clients, or prospective clients or tenants.”

Flight videos taken on drone flights are also used to identify hazards on jobsites, and to provide documentation for compliance with environmental regulations. “EllisDon does a lot of projects with local governments, and there are guidelines for maintaining clean jobsites and handling materials in an environmentally friendly way,” says Stantton Pallister, geomatics manager at Alberta-based PME Inc., a heavy civil contractor owned by EllisDon. “Drones allow us to keep a clear photographic record of the site.”

While providing viewers with an aerial perspective is the most common use for drones, it is not the only one. “Different kinds of cameras and devices can be attached to the drone for different applications,” says Pallister. “For example, when a building is complete, we can fly a drone around it with a thermal imaging camera, and look for heat leaks.” Other technologies include magnetic imaging, laser imaging, and GPS data.

Perhaps the most powerful application is the use of drone-collected data in virtual 3D models of construction projects. This provides a common view of the site for people throughout the organization, and allows supervisors, constructions managers, and senior managers to discuss projects from the same vantage point. “The 3D models that are generated from our drone flights provide a perspective that amazes many of our customers, compared to what they are used to looking at,” says Pallister.

Drones can also be used for measurement purposes. One of the most advanced applications comes from mining: the use of drones in early stages of a project to create and update accurate geographic models, allowing contractors to measure quantities of earth, gravel, and other aggregates.

“At PME, one of the ways we get paid, is for how much earthworks material is moved at a jobsite, so we developed a process where we can use the drone to measure volumetric quantities of earthwork stockpiles on jobsites,” says Pallister. “We measure accurately to the cubic metre, and provide that to the construction team for progress billing.” The method, Pallister points out, is superior to traditional methods, such as counting truckloads. “We’re more accurate, and this adds up to substantial savings.”

Assessing the options

Thanks to the introduction of drones to the consumer market, prices have plummeted in the past three years, giving contractors a range of choices. “We’re using everything from prosumer UAV to commercial devices – it depends on the application,” says Shen. “If we’re just taking a quick video, we might use a prosumer type drone. If we’re actually mapping the terrain, we’ll need a higher end drone with a better sensor and a better camera system.”

Collecting the data, however, is only the beginning. Captured data is typically stored in the drone on memory cards, and are then uploaded to the cloud, where it is either made available as video, or processed in formats suitable for BIM programs and other 3D apps. Integration, always a challenge, is particularly daunting given the file sizes, which ranges from 4 – 6 GB from a typical flight.

For organizations that aren’t interested in purchasing or learning to operate drones, there are companies like Menlo Park, Calif.-based technology provider Kespry, which offers an all-inclusive, end-to-end solution. Clients pay a subscription fee for a complete package, which includes access to fully-equipped drones, data collection tools, and cloud-based processing facilities that allow the data to be delivered to construction applications in 30 file formats. Kespry’s software flies the drones based on defined missions, so there is no need to train pilots.

“We take care of all the steps for contractors that need to collect accurate, reliable data, but don’t want to be in the drone business,” says David Shearer, vice-president marketing for Kespry. In addition to AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction), the company provides solutions for aggregates and mining, and the property claims insurance industry in Canada.

One of the key requirements for drone use is keeping compliant with regulations. UAVs were unregulated in Canada until fairly recently, but are now considered aircraft and are covered under the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CAR). Restrictions include allowable flying altitudes, maintaining visual contact with the drone, and avoidance of no-fly zones such as populated areas and airports.

The regulations are extensive, and operators at the very least need to become thoroughly familiar with them, and in many cases, apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). “We have seen the regulations get very complicated,” says Shem. Organizations may be required to carry special liability insurance as well.

Looking ahead

The rapid expansion of drone use in construction is not slowing down. PCL is working on expanding its capabilities for developing 3D point clouds for bringing data into its 3D modeling systems. “We’re just scratching the surface of where this can go,” says Maheden.

Pallister’s team is working on incorporating GIS data in their mapping operations. For example, PME plans to fly drones in built-up urban areas to identify and locate terrain features such as lamp posts, fire hydrants, mail boxes, and power lines – all of which are currently captured through ground observation. The information will then be shared with municipalities for urban planning, or to estimating teams. “When we’re looking at job pursuits or pre-construction work, we’ll be able to be more predictive for our planning and our costing,” says Pallister. “We’ll know what the ground features look like before we begin the project.”

Progress, however, isn’t just about improving the technology – contractors have much to gain from applying technologies that already exist. “It’s important that this is used in a wider perspective,” says Shem. “When you’re on a construction site, you don’t actually get to see the whole progress that’s taking place. We can show a progress video to a project manager that’s been on a site for two years, and they tell us they’ve never seen the project from that perspective.”

“When we share these videos with the trades on a project, they get to see things they don’t normally see,” says Maheden. “That helps them become more engaged and thus take pride in their own work, and helps us enhance the teamwork on site.”

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weather news & videos – Storm chasers crash: Weather Channel hosts die in insane car collision tracking twister – TomoNews – #weather #news #videos

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DICKENS COUNTY, TEXAS — This past week, three men died chasing after a potential twister in Texas, but surprisingly, it wasn’t a tornado that killed them in the end.

On March 28, Weather Channel contractors Kelley Williamson, 57, and Randall Yarnell, 55, were tracking a storm in a black suburban, heading north. Meanwhile, young storm chaser Corbin Lee Jaeger, 25, was heading west toward the same site in his jeep. As both vehicles approached an intersection, Williamson’s eyes were fixated on the storm. Distracted, he blew through a stop sign, leading to a catastrophic two-car collision.

At the time of the crash, Williamson was not wearing his seatbelt, and was ejected from his SUV. All three men died on impact.

Veteran storm chasers, Williamson and Yarnell were livestreaming their pursuit of the twister for almost two and a half hours. Their video feed froze just seconds before the crash. The video was uploaded to Williamson’s YouTube channel shortly afterwards.

Williamson and Yarnell are mourned by their Weather Channel colleagues. Jaeger, from Arizona, was certified by the National Weather Service as a storm spotter.


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Heavy Construction photos – Construction Toy Close Up – #heavy #construction #photos

Construction Toy Close Up

Posted by clappstar on 2006-11-11 18:51:06

Tagged: , construction , toy , heavy machine

Heavy Construction photos – Construction Toy Close Up – #heavy #construction #photos #pics and #images for you.

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Heavy Construction Videos – Striking the Balance | Caterpillar Group President Ed Rapp – #Construction #Videos #HeavyConstruction

Caterpillar news and videos

In December 2015, Caterpillar Group President Ed Rapp announced that he would retire effective April 1, 2016, to focus on his fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Throughout his career, Rapp has been a strong advocate for work-life balance, presenting on the topic across the globe. At the request of hundreds of employees, Rapp presented his Striking the Balance presentation one last time to Caterpillar employees prior to his retirement. His discussion focuses on three key steps: making a plan, improved efficiency and being a corporate athlete. He often says that this balance has served him well through his life, allowing him to have both a great career and great family.

Visit for more information.

Heavy Construction Videos – #Construction #Videos #HeavyConstruction

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Heavy Construction News – #Construction #news today

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK Technology shares surrendered their leadership in the U.S. stock market over the past month, but the fast-growing group may soon resume its outperformance and maneuver back into pole position.

Upcoming earnings reports for the technology sector .SPLRCT, whose profits are expected to outpace the overall S&P 500 .SPX for the 11th consecutive quarter, could lure back investors who have been concerned about expensive valuations and that too many people may have piled into the big names.

The sector has slumped 4 percent since the first week of June, while financials .SPSY have climbed more than 5 percent and healthcare .SPXHC has gained 3 percent. This has prompted speculation that investors may have been cashing out their tech profits to move into those groups.

“Technology has taken a rest, but it’s going to heat up again, and I see tech returning to favor the second half of the year,” said portfolio manager J. Bryant Evans of Cozad Asset Management in Champaign, Illinois.

For the first five months of 2017, tech was the talk of the stock market, far outperforming the other 10 major S&P 500 sectors and sparking the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC to its strongest first half since 2009.

“I think of (tech’s recent swoon) as profit-taking rather than driven by change in the fundamental factors,” said John Praveen, managing director of Prudential International Investments Advisers in Newark, New Jersey. “The fundamentals are still positive for the sector.”

On Friday, the tech sector ended a volatile week by rising 1.3 percent, topping all other sectors and a 0.6 percent rise for the S&P 500.

Analysts estimate tech’s second-quarter earnings rose 11.2 percent, with semiconductor companies accounting for much of the gain, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The increase tops the estimated 7.9 percent rise for the overall S&P 500 and is well above every sector except for energy .SPNY, whose performance will be skewed because of negative year-earlier results.

“The tech sector has the highest growth expectations and only moderate uncertainty,” Morgan Stanley equity strategists said in a research note.

Given tech’s outsized position – 22 percent of the market value of the S&P 500 – the sector’s growth is critical to overall U.S. corporate profit gains.

For the second quarter, tech profit growth alone is expected to account for nearly 28 percent of the S&P 500’s overall increase in earnings, or nearly half if energy were excluded.

“In an economy that still seems to have some growing pains, consistent growth is worth paying up for,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Tech’s second-quarter revenue growth is projected at 7.2 percent, faster than 4.6 percent for S&P 500 companies overall, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

There is “growth on the top line, which is more important at this point in the cycle, than in the bottom line only,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. This earnings season, she will focus on companies’ comments about sales activity.

Valuations for the sector also may not be so expensive. Tech is trading at 18.1 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months, just above 17.8 times for the overall market.

That difference is even smaller when compared with the premium tech has held over the past 15 years, following the dot-com bubble. Over that time, its average P/E has been 17.2 times versus 14.7 times for the S&P 500.

Another factor in tech’s favor: The dollar’s .DXY 6.1 percent decline this year against a basket of major currencies.

S&P 500 tech companies generate 60 percent of revenue from outside the United States, compared with 40 percent for companies in the entire index. A stronger dollar makes foreign sales less valuable when they are translated back into the U.S. currency for reporting purposes.

Despite these positive factors, other sectors may end up besting tech.

Healthcare’s year-to-date performance has nearly kept pace, and a resolution of the legislation moving through Congress could draw investors who have been wary about political uncertainty hovering over the sector.

A pickup in the economy and inflation could favor groups like industrials .SPLRCI, energy and financials, which tend to perform better in such times.

Clues will come starting on July 14, when a big batch of bank reports kicks off the heart of the earnings season.

In tech, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) report the following week, while Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Intel Corp (INTC.O) are among the companies that will follow later in the month.

(Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and James Dalgleish)

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weather news & videos – Lecture: “Bill Ayers, the Weather Underground, and the Attack on the American Character” – #weather #news #videos

Weather Videos and news

Dr. Mary Grabar ( giving a lecture entitled, “Bill Ayers, the Weather Underground, and the Attack on the American Character” on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at Lee University In Cleveland TN.

#weatherchannel #weathernetwork news & videos – Lecture: “Bill Ayers, the Weather Underground, and the Attack on the American Character” – #weather #news #videos