Cranfield Business Park: 3D Mapping and Digital Twin Creation


Cranfield, a small town in the UK has a bustling innovation area situated right at its centre. The expansive site includes a University, sprawling business park and an international airport. General site management and maintenance therefore involves a wide range of challenges and complexities due to the diverse nature of the site. Facility management teams require a way to be able to keep a track on building conditions, asset usage and potential areas for development or repurposing. The only way to complete this work historically is through the incredibly labour and time intensive process of manual inspection and monitoring.

Drone in a Box Use Case

3D Mapping and Digital Twin creation is the process of using aerial data capture to stitch images together in a way that creates a perfectly accurate digital recreation of an area. These 3D recreations can be interrogated to a granular level and allows for any number of facility management functions to be completed without ever needing to physically be on site. The key to really valuable Digital modelling is keeping it “live”, meaning that the data must be updated regularly. This allows for progress or change to be tracked, as well as deterioration and damage to buildings and infrastructure.

The use of Digital twin analysis is not a new concept in the modern built environment, however the resource, time and costs involved in regularly updating the data through traditional drone pilot flights makes it prohibitive. A dedicated onsite drone station allows for the required data captured to be completed even daily if it is deemed necessary, such as on construction sites where progress and change is dramatic.

By installing a Drone in a Box solution on the facility, the speed and regularity at which inspection work can be completed is improved by an order of magnitude. This allows for decision to be made quicker and allows for the business operations to be far more dynamic than previously possible.

Wider Applications

As is typical when a dedicated drone resource is installed on a large facility, the number of uses and benefits that it provides continues to develop. The system can be used as part of a dynamic security and surveillance system, or a way to monitor the perimeter of the site for changes or damage. As well as the more functional benefits, the units can also be used by marketing and commercial teams to create engaging video materials that showcase what a facility can offer to outside businesses.

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