Canadian Consulting Engineer

Engineers use drone to capture footage of projects

February 4, 2015

Skymatics staff prepare to fly their drone in Edmonton.

DIALOG flew the first drone flight in downtown Edmonton at the end of January. The company and Skymatics were granted a special flight operations certificate from Transport Canada to take footage of two projects that are under construction: the Edmonton Arena and Walterdale Bridge.

DIALOG is part of the architectural and engineering teams for both projects. It is providing structural engineering with Thornton Tomasetti at the Rogers Place Arena, and the firm is part of the engineering team with Buckland & Taylor and ISL for the Walterdale Bridge, which is expected to open to traffic later this year.

Jeff DiBattista, principal of DIALOG, explained why they have adopted drone photography: “In the past we only had photography available to capture projects. Photography then evolved to virtual tours, then came virtual reality such as fly-through videos. Now technology is allowing us to create augmented realities which lets clients experience their projects before completion, and drones which capture projects in ways photography can’t.”

In the case of Walterdale Bridge, for example, an aerial view captures both sides of the riverbank and provides a better understanding of the project site and traffic flow. Once the bridge is completed, a drone will also be able to photograph the face of the bridge from a horizontal sight line.


While there are exemptions for operating drones (also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)) without permission, Transport Canada requires UAVs of 2 kilograms or less to stay 30 metres away from buildings, and UAVs of 2.1 to 25 kilograms to stay 150 metres away.

To see DIALOG’s snippet of the video footage taken of the bridge, click here.



Stories continue below

Print this page

Related Stories