April 16, 2024

Digital twins and drones: Transforming construction data with SensingFeeling


In this article we aim to provide you with an in-depth understanding of how drones and visual technologies are transforming the way construction projects are managed. In particular how drones are being used to survey sites to provide data to more effectively manage site activity and progress tracking, to increase operational efficiency, sustainability and safety. Drone technology has seen major improvements in the past couple of years as hardware becomes more accessible but also improvements in software capability. Most recently the use of algorithms to generate insight from footage has allowed for  enhanced analysis of the images available from drones (and other video sources). These advancements have made drones increasingly accessible, affordable and tailored to meet the unique demands of construction projects. 

How drone surveying can help build digital twins:

Drone surveying facilitates the creation of digital twins by providing detailed and comprehensive data from aerial perspectives. When integrated with ground sensor data, this approach allows for the accurate modelling of construction sites in virtual environments. This method streamlines project management and improves decision-making by offering a realistic and up-to-date view of the physical site, crucial for effective planning and execution.

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical construction site, accurately mirroring its operations, structures and dynamics through digital models. This technology enables real-time monitoring and simulation, enhancing decision-making by predicting potential issues and visualising the impact of changes. The benefits of using digital twins in construction include improved efficiency by identifying and rectifying inefficiencies, increased safety through hazard prediction and prevention and enhanced sustainability by optimising material usage and reducing waste. Examples of digital twin applications include the automation of material movement analysis using drone imagery and advanced algorithms, which streamlines project monitoring and reduces the need for manual intervention. Such innovations are examples of how digital twins are setting new standards for productivity, efficiency and comprehensive insight in the construction industry. 

Drones provide detailed aerial views, quickly covering extensive areas and capturing high-resolution images for a comprehensive evaluation of material degradation. This method complements ground inspections, ensuring safety and efficiency while facilitating early detection of potential issues for proactive maintenance. The integration of drone data with digital twins also improves planning accuracy and cost-effectiveness in construction management.

MachineMax’s partnership with SensingFeeling:

SensingFeeling is a company that interprets visual analytics with their visual processing engine (VPE). This is done by taking image feeds from existing camera systems which are processed simultaneously in real time. No images or video are recorded or transmitted but selective algorithms are applied to identify activity or behaviour that needs highlighting.

The collaboration between MachineMax and SensingFeeling utilises SensingFeeling's advanced algorithms to analyse images and provide the necessary data from drone footage. MachineMax then converts this data into the desired format and displays it in their user-friendly platform.

Hugh Griffith - Director of Business Development at SensingFeeling stated: 

“Historically as a visual sensing platform we focused solely on extracting data from visuals, this partnership has opened the doors to utilise MachineMax’s sensors to further enrich the data collected.”
Automated material analysis: 

SensingFeeling's algorithms, in conjunction with drone footage, can automatically track material movements on your site. Hugh Griffith explains:

"Just post two drone images in the correct format, and SensingFeeling's algorithms can calculate the total material movements within an area, offering precise, hardware-free insights."

This approach minimises the amount of hardware typically necessary to track movements across different parts of your operations, allowing for increased efficiency at a fraction of the cost.

Workflow optimisation: 

By applying SensingFeeling's algorithms to drone images, MachineMax boosts construction efficiency, reducing waste and cost. This data pinpoints exact workflow issues, offering straightforward solutions for improvement.

Drone data integrated with MachineMax analytics also predicts workflow disruptions, training algorithms to spot early signs of wear. This proactive approach prevents delays, saves costs and keeps projects on track.

Intuitive digital twin platform with actionable insights:

An advanced use case for this partnership involves utilising data in the forms of images, videos and sensor readings to create a comprehensive digital twin of a site within the MachineMax platform.

Sites can leverage this technology to equip their teams with detailed insights on streamlining site operations through intuitive tools and customisable reports. For instance, the congestion and queuing feature helps identify areas with high congestion and idling rates, enabling workforce rerouting to save time and fuel.


The construction industry is seeing significant tech advancements, with tools like SensingFeeling utilising cameras and drones to funnel data into the MachineMax platform. This synergy offers notable improvements in efficiency, cost reduction, safety and sustainability.

Benefits include better project timelines, lower costs, improved data accuracy and support for green practices. By adopting SensingFeeling and MachineMax, construction managers can streamline operations, enhance precision and maintain a competitive advantage.

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