North Point Tower has been a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, landmark since 1875 when Milwaukee Water Works first began using the water tower and its open standpipe as part of the original waterworks that began pumping in 1874. The 175-foot tower sits on the bluff above Lake Michigan and is made of cream-colored Wauwatosa cut limestone and Milwaukee Cream City Brick.
The City of Milwaukee was working with an engineer to rehabilitate portions of this aging water tower. raSmith learned of the project and was interested in having our in-house FAA certified sUAS pilots use their drone capabilities to capture high-resolution imagery of the corroded steel roof structure. After the images were collected, raSmith staff developed 3D models of the roof structure using Structure from Motion (SfM) techniques. The 3D models provided an ability to quantify the extents of the corrosion and the high-resolution images provided an up-close look at the steel elements without inspectors ever leaving the ground.
One of the challenges successfully overcome included keeping the site safe and in compliance with FAA requirements while minimizing impacts to pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Careful planning ensured that all safety precautions were taken with the tower flown from various vantage points.