Using Drones to Preserve Art, Architecture and History

Featuring the Albright Knox Art Gallery - 1285 Elmwood Ave. Buffalo, NY 14222

Aerial Image of Albright Knox Art Gallery, EagleHawk 9/2018

Aerial Image of Albright Knox Art Gallery, EagleHawk 9/2018

A quick afternoon drone flight and a walk around the Albright Knox Art Gallery (AKAG) outdoor sculpture garden led to the creation of the 3D model and the interactive sculpture garden tour seen below. The Albright Knox Art gallery has begun its campus development and expansion, AK360, and the removal of its outdoor sculpture for storage has begun. I anticipate looking at a different landscape than we are used to seeing at 1285 Elmwood. To me, it was a meaningful project to attempt to preserve the AKAG as we know and will remember it before the property undergoes its renovations.

I spend a decent amount of time at art galleries in varied capacities and this place is more to me than a world class art museum. It reminds me of people I have met, lifelong friends that I have gained and for experiences and opportunities one might dream about. The Albright still remains one of my favorite places in the city of Buffalo for many reasons. I thought about the personal and historical value of place and time, and how I could contribute to its preservation.

I have had opportunities to fly drones at some wonderful spaces and places across the United States, and, document some amazing architecture and archaeology including art galleries, universities, armories, rock quarries, and waterways just to name a few. Using drones and data obtained from drones we can see the world in great detail and in a unique perspective seldom seen by others.

Using a drone and a digital camera I took the imagery that was needed to post-process using photogrammetry software and generate a 3D point cloud and model file for the project area. The date for all imagery captured in this project is September 2018. I had the idea to create a unique tour for the exterior of the art gallery using the tools that I use on a daily basis. I saw an opportunity to improve upon the existing digital tour for the outdoor sculpture at AKAG, which can be viewed here.

Interactive 3D model created from drone imagery and data

Drones can be used to not only reconstruct and document, but also to collect and produce actionable data that can be used for planning, preservation, building and restoration activities.

According to the National Register of Historic Places; Since its inception in 1966, more than 92,000 properties (including the Albright Knox) have been listed in the National Register. Together these records hold information on more than 1.4 million individual resources--buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects--and therefore provide a link to the country's heritage at the national, state, and local levels.

The drone industry is still very much in growth mode and I look forward to what we and others do as this technology continues to rapidly evolve. I believe that the preservation and documentation of places like the Albright Knox Art Gallery is something of great value for both technical and philanthropic purposes. Engineers and architects are adopting drone technology more and more, and are using experienced drone service providers like EagleHawk to capture data and deliver insights. To learn more about what we do at EagleHawk, please enjoy exploring our site or feel free to contact us with any questions.

Going up!


Willard Schulmeister

COO EagleHawk One, Inc.

Tags: Drone, Drones, Art, Buffalo, Albright Knox, Art Gallery, Museum, History, Architecture, Data