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Sep 19, 2019

Deep Dive: TraceAir Platform Features

In the last post, we explained why field usage and easy-to-use software is so important in construction. Now, let's take a deep dive into the key features of the TraceAir platform which our users love.
TraceAir platform's view modes. Image: TraceAir
The variety of features available on the TraceAir platform truly empowers construction project teams to make timely and well-informed decisions and streamline daily workflows.
On the product side, TraceAir:

  • suggests effective grading strategies and best haul roads based on mathematical calculations;
  • prevents delays during the grading stage, thanks to the most accurate site balance predictions based on soil behavior tracking;
  • provides easy-to-use tools to check quantities right in the field for even the least tech-savvy users;
  • gives a unique combination of recent data and accessible tools to plan the best possible sequencing at your fingertips;
  • makes all the relevant data instantly available to resolve disputes right at meetings;
  • offers insights powered by machine learning to help you seamlessly keep your job site up to safety and environmental requirements.

Let's take a closer look at how it works.

Impact of accurate drone flyovers

Several years ago, at the beginning of our journey, we were first in the drone industry who aimed to build the most topographically accurate construction site models, which were crucial for the related analytical tools to work properly. At that same time, many grading contractors and civil and geotechnical firms were struggling to develop flyover services in-house to embrace the advantages provided by innovative drone technology. Some of them succeeded, for example with the help of Pix4D processing solutions, among others.

Today, TraceAir has a history of consistent excellence in providing the fastest and most accurate flyovers (turnaround time is overnight). But our biggest strength is taking those extremely precise construction site models and providing powerful analytical tools that are easy to use, even for the least tech-savvy people. The TraceAir platform is able to access models from third-party providers as well as using its own internal turn-key solution for processed flyovers.

On the TraceAir platform, drone data is visualized in several modes:

  • Top-down orthophoto view
  • Elevation map
  • Contours
  • Cut & fill map with live quantities
Measurements and planning

With the TraceAir platform, you can instantly measure elevations, lengths, areas, and quantities. Complex calculations previously performed only by engineers in the back office can now be done in seconds right on the construction site.
Analyze the whole job site:

  1. Compare surfaces. Compare your recent flyover:
  • to the design grade surface to visualize completed and not yet finished areas;
  • to the original ground to visualize the total amount of work completed since the beginning of the job;
  • to the previous flyover to visualize the work completed between the flyovers.
TraceAir platform's Compare Surfaces tool. Image: TraceAir
2. Overlays. Compare a recent drone flyover against the project documentation.

Users can easily upload civil sets or any other project plans to compare them against the existing job site conditions.
TraceAir platform's Overlays tool. Image: TraceAir
Measure, plan and track progress on custom areas of interest on the job site:
TraceAir platform's toolbox. Image: TraceAir
1. Distance and Slope, including Overground. Measure distances and slopes right in the field or in the trailer using your phone or laptop.

2. Area and Perimeter. Measure the square footage of custom areas on the fly. Quantify the site balance impact if the selected area is raised or lowered by a defined number of feet relative to the existing ground.

3. Elevation and Coordinates. Measure the elevation of any point on the job site for the current scan. Compare the elevation to the design grade to find out how much cut or fill is left.

4. Cross Section. Compare elevations of the terrain in the cross-section view. Add several job site snapshots or the remedial grade surface on the graph to see a progression of changes.

5. Stockpiles. Quantify stockpiles with several clicks.

6. Cut/Fill Balance. Use the Cut/Fill Balance tool to balance your site, track remaining quantities, and plan operations. With this tool, you can activate the overlays needed to use the linework as a guide, select an area of interest, and save the area to keep track of the cut/fill quantities for future scans.

7. Cut & Fill to Design. Volume Distribution Report. Use these tools to calculate quantities to Design in a selected area with the ability to change the boundary slopes and visualize a daylight line highlighting where to start the excavation. Get the volume distribution at different elevations for the cut areas and volumes to fill to different elevations in the fill zones. All of this can be done in seconds right in the field.
TraceAir platform's Cut & Fill to Design tool. Image: TraceAir
8. Track Quantities. Track the total volumes moved between two selected scan dates.

9. Keyways. Use this tool to quantify and plan grading operations for keyways, trenches, etc.

10. Removals. Use this tool to quantify and plan remedial grading with a fixed-bottom elevation or fixed depth of the remedial over-excavation.

11. Export into a rover to stake what you planned. You can easily export anything you've planned into a rover and stake it on the ground.

12. Haul Roads and Pioneering Tools. These tools allow you to significantly empower the foreman's decision-making process on construction sites: estimating production rates for new and existing haul roads, creating the most effective new hauls, pioneering new sections, and creating shortcuts on existing haul roads.

13. Markups and Annotations. Finally, you can mark up the site map or draw over a recent snapshot of the site to explain an issue or request information. Markups and Annotations help you track progress easily, locate issues and share them easily with the whole team.
Machine learning and customization

The TraceAir platform provides multiple custom services based on leveraging the unique data we collect, machine learning, and recent proprietary technological innovations developed by TraceAir. Those include:

  • drone-based remedial as-builts for remedial grading (removals, keyways, street over-excavations) to improve safety and efficiency on data collection and processing.
  • automatic pavement tracking to get your pavement % complete with every new flyover.
  • the best available soil behavior (bulk/shrink) tracking and prediction to balance your job or quantify the upcoming dirt export/import. Gets more accurate with every newly added job site.
  • automatic estimation and detection of material quantities: stockpiled materials, SWPPP-related materials (hydro-mulch, stabilizing fabric and fiber rolls, etc.).
We'll talk more about using AI and ML in our platform in the coming posts.

The platform is extremely intuitive and easy to use for everyone on the project, including the less tech-savvy people. In all, the TraceAir platform enables better site monitoring, progress tracking, and precise volumetric calculations previously available only to engineers using expensive professional software.
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