Drone gives aerial angle to real estate

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2013
Deane Riddick
ROBERT CHARLES/Fairfax NZ

UP AND AWAY: Open2view real estate photographer Deane Riddick demonstrates the photo drone he uses to capture aerial photos of property.

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Military-style technology is helping a Taranaki property photographer reach new heights.

Since December Open2view photographer Deane Riddick has been offering real estate agents a new perspective on property photography.

Riddick has been using a photo drone to capture aerial angles of properties for agents wanting to give clients an elevated view.

His six-propeller drone is fitted with a GoPro camera and powered by a 5-amp battery.

The drone is flown by remote control and is installed with a GPS tracking device for homing navigation.

Drones are becoming an increasingly popular tool in modern warfare, ranging from the British Army's minuscule Black Hornet surveillance devices, to the state-of-the-art Sentinel used by the United States Air Force, which the Taliban have nicknamed the "Beast of Kandahar" because of its destructive potential.

But for Riddick, the $3500 drones are just a handy new tool.

So far, he has shot about 30 properties and the response has been positive.

"You can literally put it wherever you want and get a different angle."

The drones were definitely a topic of conversation for people passing by, he said.

"People see it and they want to know more about it."

Open2view has been given permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to use them up an elevation of 150 metres.

But Riddick said he only needed to use the photo drone to about 30 metres.

The GoPro camera was programmed to take a photo every five seconds, Riddick said.

The drones weighed about 1.5-kilograms and were fairly agile and robust.

Before using photo drones in the field, Open2view photographers were given two weeks of training.

Taranaki's estimated 275 real estate agents are being offered one free trial session with the photo drone.

After that, it would cost them $150 a session until the end of next month and $299 thereafter.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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