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Game of drones: ODS launches commercial drone services

by LLB Reporter
11th Sep 18 7:10 am

Oxford Direct Services (ODS), the service delivery and commercial arm of Oxford City Council, today announced that it is to start providing drone-based services to include roof and building surveying, land mapping, aerial photography and filming.

As far as is known, this is the first time a council owned organisation has brought drone services in-house and shows the innovative approach ODS is adopting to generate revenue since Oxford City Council created the wholly owned company in April 2018.  All ODS’ profits will be used to fund public services in the community.

ODS is Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) licensed and approved to offer commercial services with qualified and insured pilots.  ODS will operate fully in accordance with best practice and GDPR rules and regulations in relation to permission to fly, safety and the privacy of residents.

Initially, ODS will focus on surveying the roofs of 7,800 properties it maintains on behalf of Oxford City Council. The use of drones will save time, drive down costs and reduce the health and safety challenges typically encountered with this type of work. Commercial surveying, mapping, aerial photography and filming will be competitively priced consistent with each customer’s specific requirements.

Ben Strang, ODS’ project leader of drone services, explains, “I was a felt roofer for 15 years.  If you’re working on low to high rise housing blocks to identify, for example, pest entry points or find roof leaks, putting up scaffolding is at best a very hit and miss process.   You erect the scaffolding where you think the source of issue lies but guaranteed it’s not there and then you waste time and money moving the scaffolding tower.  Using a drone resolves this and helps us pinpoint exactly where we need to work so that we can do first time fixes and enhance efficiency.”

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