Watch our video below comparing RoofSnap and DroneDeploy, two powerful roof measuring applications that can utilize drone imagery for accurate measurements and data. We cover the key differences between the applications, the roof measuring tools available in each one, and what the process is like for creating a project and getting accurate measurements of your roof.
Like this video? Consider subscribing to our YouTube channel for more like it.
Table of Contents
- Why Getting Detailed Roof Measurements is Important
- Three Roof Measuring Apps: RoofSnap, DroneDeploy, and Google Earth
- How to Get Roof Measurements for Your Project
- Ordering Measurements to Save You Time
- Map Detail & Measurement Accuracy
- Determining The Best Roof Measurement Tool for Your Needs
Why Getting Detailed Roof Measurements is Important & Helpful
Getting detailed and accurate rooftop measurements is important for a variety of applications. Perhaps you work for a construction firm. You may need detailed diagrams of the roof with accurate measurements of the ridges, valleys, hips, eaves, and a clear visual understanding of where vent pipes and chimneys are located on the roof.
You could also be performing a rooftop inspection and need to properly assess a damaged area for an accurate estimate for repair. Or perhaps you need to calculate the area of your roof to estimate the cost of getting it re-shingled or get a quote for a solar panel installation.
Drones present a unique opportunity for getting a clear view of your rooftop and allowing you to get precise roof measurements. A variety of roof measuring applications and programs already take advantage of high-resolution drone imagery to get accurate roof measurements.
Three Roof Measuring Applications: RoofSnap, DroneDeploy, and Google Earth
Two popular software applications capable of measuring rooftops are RoofSnap and DroneDeploy. These software tools provide advanced tools and features for accurate measurements and detailed information.
However, as RoofSnap and DroneDeploy both start at $99 per month, Google Earth may serve as a reasonable free alternative tool for some people looking to approximate the dimensions of their roof.
RoofSnap – Optimized for Roof Measurements
RoofSnap is a specialized roof measuring application. It allows users to calculate the length of flat surfaces, including eaves, ridges, and gutters, and even sloped roof elements such as hips, rakes, and valleys.
Users draw lines on their diagram and label the lines with the corresponding part of the roof. RoofSnap then generates the facets of the roof based on how the lines are connected. Users add pitch to each facet, allowing RoofSnap to calculate accurate measurements for sloped surfaces, including the hips, rakes, and valleys of the roof.
DroneDeploy – Create Orthomosaics with Powerful Measurement Tools
DroneDeploy, on the other hand, is an application with tools and features better suited for construction sites. Users program their drone to go on an automated flight path to capture imagery for producing orthomosaics, 3D models, performing inspections inspections, or capturing the progress of their construction site at recurring intervals. Drone imagery is required to generate a map of the site. You cannot purchase existing imagery, and DroneDeploy’s tools only work once your map has been generated.
Part of DroneDeploy’s tool set includes measuring distance, area, and volume. Users can use the distance and area tools for getting reasonably accurate rooftop measurements.
While you may expect DroneDeploy to only provide measurements for horizontal planes, the software application is able to use the flight data from the drone to understand the elevation of each surface. This allows you to get accurate measurements for sloped surfaces, including ridges, hips, valleys, rakes, and eaves.
Google Earth – Free Measuring Software
Given the relatively expensive prices of RoofSnap and DroneDeploy, which both start at $99 per month, consumers may even consider using Google Earth to approximate the area of their rooftop. Google Earth allows users to measure the distance between two points for free. You can even switch the units between yards, feet, and inches for more precise measurements.
Unfortunately, Google Earth does not let users calculate area. Only distance. To estimate the area of your roof, you need to measure each side individually and then use your measurements to calculate the area yourself.
Google Earth will also not account for the pitch of the roof, so again it is best used as a free tool for approximating the dimensions of your roof. It can be helpful in a pinch for getting estimates for reshingling costs or solar panel installations.
RoofSnap vs DroneDeploy Process – How to Get Roof Measurements for Your Project
RoofSnap Process for Getting Roof Measurements
RoofSnap’s process for getting roof measurements is fairly simple––and it doesn’t require you to capture any additional imagery. RoofSnap uses Nearmap to provide up-to-date and high resolution aerial images of 71% of the U.S. population living in cities and suburbs. Odds are, your roof is covered. Outlined below is the process for measuring your roof in RoofSnap:
Step 1 – Create A Project & Select Your Location
The first step is simply to create a new project. Add in the project address and any details about the client.
Step 2 – Create Your Sketch
RoofSnap calls imagery of your roof and your roof measurements a “Sketch.” You can choose one of the available images taken from Nearmap, or you can choose to upload your own drone image.
Step 3 – Measure Your Roof
With your image selected, you can now dive into the RoofSnap’s tools to measure and label your roof. We recommend drawing unlabeled lines first, and then once your lines are drawn you can label each segment appropriately, whether it is a ridge, eave, valley, hip, rake, or other part of the roof.
Step 4 – Add the Pitch to Your Facets
RoofSnap will automatically create facets on your roof based on your labeled roof segments. Make sure your facets appear correctly. If they don’t, you will need to go back to redraw certain lines. If your facets look correct, you can select a roof pitch from the side panel and then click the number within a facet to label the facet with that pitch. Adding the pitch value to each facet is essential for getting accurate measurements of sloped distances, such as valleys, hips, and rakes.
Step 5 – Generate Your Sketch Report
Once your roof is labeled correctly, you can generate your report. A RoofSnap Sketch report includes the following five sections:
- Cover Page
- Pitch Diagram
- Measurement diagram
- Measurements sheet
- Area diagram
DroneDeploy Process for Getting Roof Measurements
DroneDeploy requires you to use a drone to fly over your selected area, capture imagery, and generate an orthomosaic map. The advantage to capturing your own imagery and DroneDeploy’s software is that it produces an up-to-date image that is significantly higher quality than RoofSnaps images from Nearmap.
The process for getting measurements in DroneDeploy is slightly different, as it requires sending your drone on an automated flight path to take photos of your property:
Step 1 – Create Your Project
Create a new project and enter your address. Use the tools in DroneDeploy to create a new Map Plan around your property. DroneDeploy will generate an automated flight plan for your drone (or someone else’s drone) to fly and take photos.
Step 2 – Fly Your Drone
With your flight plan created, go on-site and fly your drone. The DroneDeploy application will guide your drone on the automated flight path to capture all the necessary images.
Step 3 – Generate Your Orthomosaic Map
Upload the images from your drone to your DroneDeploy project. DroneDeploy will begin processing the images, using data from the drone to properly align each image and identify the altitude and position it was taken at. Your map will take a few hours to process. When it is complete you will have an accurate, up-to-date, and extremely detailed orthomosaic map which you can use for measuring area, distance, and even volume.
Step 4 – Measure Your Roof
DroneDeploy has two primary tools for collecting useful rooftop measurements; the area tool and the distance tool. The area tool provides you with horizontal area as well as surface area, allowing you to get measurements and data on the facets of your roof. The distance tool provides you with horizontal distance as well as surface length, allowing you to get measurements of ridges, hips, valleys, rakes, eaves, and more. Use the tools to get the roof measurements you need for your project.
Step 5 – Generate Your Report
Similar to RoofSnap, DroneDeploy lets you generate reports for your projects. You can choose between an annotation report, a progress report, a stockpile report, and an issue report. The annotation report is what contains your distance and area measurements. The report has the following sections:
- A map of your project with numbers corresponding to each measurement
- All distance measurements, including their label color, title, horizontal length, surface length, and slope
- All area measurements including their label color, title, area, and surface area
- All volume measurements including their label color, title, area, volume, cut, and fill
RoofSnap vs DroneDeploy – Ordering Roof Measurements to Save You Time
Both RoofSnap and DroneDeploy offer ways of allowing users to order maps of roofs. Essentially you are paying to outsource the tedious process of getting each roof measurement Here are the options available from each platform:
RoofSnap – Order a SketchOS Measurement
RoofSnap offers their own service for measuring your rooftop. You can choose to order a SketchOS map of either a Half Snap or a Full Snap.
Half Snaps are $9.00 for any roof and provides you with basic measurements. This includes the surface area, predominant pitch, and is ideal for estimating the square footage of the building.
Full Snaps are detailed diagrams with measurements of ridges, hips, valleys, rakes, and eaves. Pricing is broken up between residential properties and commercial properties. Residential properties start at $9.00 for roofs under 20 square feet and go up to $35 for roofs between 50 and 80 square feet. Commercial properties buildings over 80 square feet and are billed based on the number of facets they have. Buildings with 1-4 faces start at $9.00, and buildings with 81-120 facets go up to $70.
DroneDeploy – Using Roof Report to Quickly Get Roof Measurements
DroneDeploy does not offer any first party tools for ordering the measurements of a rooftop. However, a third party application called Roof Report allows users to outsource getting measurements of their roof.
Roof Report is an application available on the DroneDeploy app market, and it allows you to select your roof with an area measurement and then order a detailed report of the rooftop. Pricing ranges from $20 for a small residential building with a 2000 sq ft roof up to $95 for a large commercial building with over a 20,000 sq ft rooftop.
RoofSnap vs DroneDeploy – Map Detail & Measurement Accuracy
Both RoofSnap and DroneDeploy provide you with reasonably detailed maps for accurate measurements of your roof. However, there are differences when it comes to map detail and measurement accuracy.
How Accurate is RoofSnap?
RoofSnap uses Nearmap for their imaging service. Nearmap flies planes at relatively low altitudes to capture images of the ground below and create detailed maps. However, because the plans are flying higher than drones, the map resolution is lower. Nearmap resolutions are typically 5.8cm/px to 7.5cm/px.
This resolution allows you to see your roof reasonably well, but it isn’t the sharpest. Edges appear slightly jagged, the image is overall fuzzy, and you may not know exactly where a point ends.
Nearmap also updates their imagery up to six times per year. This helps provide an accurate picture of your roof most of the time, however for some projects, such as recently completed construction projects, getting updated imagery taken from a drone is not only more detailed, but also significantly more accurate.
RoofSnap allows you to upload your own drone image for a more detailed map and more precise measurements. However, you need to know the length of an object in the image in order to properly set the scale. Setting the scale incorrectly will result in inaccurate measurements.
Still, you can get reasonably accurate measurements using RoofSnap’s default imagery from Nearmap, especially adding in the pitch of your facets. For most projects, RoofSnap will provide the level of detail and measurement accuracy you need.
How Accurate is DroneDeploy?
As touched on above, using a drone to capture imagery is not only more up-to-date, but it is also significantly higher resolution. DroneDeploy is able to create orthomosaic maps up to a 0.5in/px resolution. You can see blades of grass in your image!
Having a more detailed map lets you position your distance and area measurements more precisely, which ultimately helps you get more accurate data.
What’s the Most Accurate Way to Measure a Roof?
The most accurate way to get roof measurements is ultimately to use RoofSnap with your own drone imagery.
To get the best drone imagery for detailed measurements, RoofSnap recommends you fly your drone as high as possible and center your image above the roof. Flying at a high altitude helps prevent distortion in your image caused by the wide angle camera of the drone. At a low altitude your image would be warped and less suitable for getting measurements.
You also want to position the drone directly above your property. This again helps minimize distortion, and it makes it easier when importing the image into RoofSnap.
Finally, you must make sure to include an object with a known distance in your shot. RoofSnap recommends spray painting a PVC pipe and laying it in a gutter, or taking the time to make an on-site measurement. You use this measurement to set the scale of your image in RoofSnap, which is necessary for getting accurate data.
DroneDeploy vs RoofSnap – Which App Should You Use for Roof Measurements?
Ultimately the best application for getting roof measurements will depend on your needs. Both RoofSnap and DroneDeploy offer powerful features for getting detailed and accurate measurements.
If you or your business operates exclusively in the roofing industry, then RoofSnap is going to provide a better experience. You get specialized tools for creating and aligning your measurements, more detailed reports intended for the roofing industry, and RoofSnap can even function as a back-end project management tool to help you manage your various roofing projects. Using RoofSnap also requires you know the pitch of the facets for accurate measurements.
DroneDeploy, on the other hand, is better suited for construction firms. Its tools will not only allow you to get accurate measurements of roofs, but of other areas of your project as well. You can measure the volume stockpiles, determine how much material was moved in one day, and track the progress of your project with photo reports. Getting drone imagery is also essential for getting an updated view of your project.
The choice is up to you, but both RoofSnap and DroneDeploy demonstrate the power of aerial imagery and how you can use drones for actionable insights and data-driven decisions.
If you’d like to learn more, or would like to learn more about our drone services or drone pilot jobs, simply follow dronegenuity on our social media channels:YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates.