As part of an ongoing effort to explore how technology can be utilized to improve government function, City Controller Alan Butkovitz announced Wednesday that the city has been using drones to inspect dangerous buildings in neighborhoods across Philadelphia.
Butkovitz and his team selected four locations around the city to test the drone’s capacity to make visual inspections. The drone was utilized to gain a broader view of collapsing buildings in Hunting Park, West Philadelphia, Point Breeze and South Philadelphia on Manton Street.
“Our latest project joins our record of technology initiatives since I first took office 10 years ago, including transparency over campaign finance reporting through our website and developing a mobile application that allows citizens to report fraud directly to our office,” Butkovitz said. “The immediate advantage of utilizing a drone was realized with the ability to cover more ground in less time, making the process more efficient and effective. We found a visual inspection of one block consisting of 56 homes could be completed in 30 seconds.”
The drone’s footage showed a view of several concerning conditions such as missing roofs, weak structures and adjoining properties that need to be addressed. These conditions could be seen only from an aerial view provided by the drone.
The drone that was tested was under the guidance of a professional videographer and compliant with the Federal Aviation Administration’s guidelines.
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Dominique “Peak” Johnson is a North Philadelphia journalists and blogger. He is one of the founding editors and writers of the North Philly Metropolis, blogger for The Huffington Post, and staff writer for Al DÍA News. Click here to learn more about Peak.