Bowling Green using drones for engineering planning

Bowling Green using drones for engineering planning

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The City of Bowling Green is now using three drones that were seized during a criminal case and the Engineering Department got one of them.

To look over future work sites, the City of Bowling Green engineers have had to rely on official Wood County aerial image which are updated every two years.

But now with drone technology, they can have up to date images in less than two hours.

The Unmanned Aerial System, or UAS, is programmed to fly over set GPS coordinates to take high resolution images of the area.

The images are then processed and stitched together to overlay older aerial shots.

This way engineers know exactly what the area looks like now, instead of what it did look like the last time satellite images were taken.

"Well, if you go to Google Earth, the map that you're going to get off of the system isn't up to date. So the UAS will literally get you up to the minute imagery that we can use for project planning," said Joe Fawcett, City of Bowling Green Assistant Municipal Administrator.

In the past, high resolution aerials would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire.

Now the drone can operate with only the cost of a $150 FAA drone license.

When it is used in an area, roads will be shut down for a few hours and handouts will be given to neighbors in advance.

"The biggest part for is just notifying the public that we will be in the area so they understand what the process is. And so they understand that the imagery that is being pulled is going to be straight down of the right of way only, it won't be over private property," said Fawcett.

This system in Bowling Green is one of the first for the region, but could become a new standard for engineering.

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