After weeks of product searches and hours of flight testing at its South Florida headquarters, iRoofing has put its stamp of approval on DJI’s newest drone – the Mavic Mini.
Due to the discontinuation by DJI’s Spark model drone, it was necessary for iRoofing to switch from that which had previously met iRoofing’s standards, to a new drone. The company took an objective look at many plausible replacements.
“We needed a high-quality drone that our clients could easily operate; one that was affordable and could further facilitate roof measurement needs. We also wanted our internal team to be confident the new drone would serve our clients’ needs and assure fast, easy flight competence,” said Oded Shemla, iRoofing’s co-CEO.
The world’s smallest commercial grade drone to-date, the DJI Mavic Mini was tested against other high-end drone options. The goal of iRoofing was to determine the best drone for roofing contractors based on a qualitative matrix which graded devices for ease-of-use; cost; battery charge duration; control in-flight; camera quality; image resolution, and other aspects.
Ease of Use
Battery Charge Duration
In Flight Maneuverability
- Image Resolution
- Obstacle Avoidance/Durability
- Software Compatibility
- Operating Temperature Range
1. Performance on a roof measurement mission
While the Mavic Mini can maintain transmission over two miles away from the controller, we took it to an altitude of just over 400 feet, which is an ideal height for obtaining overhead roof images for measurements using the iRoofing mobile app. Signal strength was no issue at this close range. Flight time is advertised as 30 minutes, but we found that 25 minutes is more accurate. That’s still a good flight duration and will facilitate completing most jobs without a battery swap or recharge.
In most real-life roof measurement scenarios the Mavic Mini’s omission of obstacle avoidance technology should not be a significant factor. It is not equipped with such due to DJI’s effort to keep the drone under 250 grams.
Photographs and video were captured during the test mission.
2. Performance of onboard camera system
The Mavic Mini’s camera system is superior because the lens can point down directly at a 90° angle, compared the discontinued Spark which could only point down 85°. Direct overhead imagery ensures the most accurate roof measurement. Camera angling is easily controlled by the pilot and also offers left-right swivel. Image resolution is strong, though not at the highest echelon available. Nevertheless, 12 megapixel photo resolution and 2.7 kilopixels/30p is excellent and completely suitable for roof measurements and roof inspection photos. The Mavic Mini’s 1080/30p video is solid too and effective when you’re needing to freeze-frame an image.
3. General maneuverability and flight control
During iRoofing’s careful field testing, the drone’s handheld control unit was given a positive evaluation as simple and intuitive to use. Since the Mavic Mini can control pitch, roll and yaw, drone navigation has never been more precise. (“Pitch” refers to rotation around the side-to-side axis. “Roll” is rotation around the front-to-back axis, and “Yaw” is rotation around the vertical axis.)
Add a Drone to Your Roofing Arsenal
Drones are invaluable to roofers. These high-flying tools will save you time, mitigate hazardous tasks and capture images either up close or from afar.
Having a drone(s) in your arsenal of tools will be another aspect of your company that will impress clients. You can build your pitchbook and your entire work portfolio of past roofing jobs by videotaping and photographing each project. Try to capture before and after views of the property to further enhance your presentation.
Go forth, fly safe, and prosper!