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Oklahoma City realty firm flies its own drone

The kind of video and photography never seen before in the real estate business is possible with a drone and the right combination of equipment, according to Price Edwards & Co. The firm obtained a quadrocopter and armed it with a high-definition camera in April.
by Richard Mize Modified: June 14, 2013 at 8:48 pm •  Published: June 15, 2013

For a potential investor or commercial site selector, it's like walking a property while wearing a jet pack.

Want to check close up for cracks in the facade of an office building — at the 29th floor? Price Edwards & Co. has made it doable.

Want to see the layout of space around columns in a warehouse, for considering inventory management — from the 30-foot clear-height ceiling? Not a problem.

Price Edwards has its own drone.

The payload? Speed and efficiency for property brokers and clients — and high-definition video and photography of land and buildings literally like no one has ever seen.

The drone, technically a small quadrocopter by DJI Innovations armed with a GoPro video camera, is able to capture a range of views not seeable from either the ground or with traditional aerial photography from a helicopter.

Phil Jackson, Price Edwards' chief information officer, said he saw one in March in Austin, Texas, at South by Southwest, the annual film-music-technology confab.

“I thought, you know, that could have some applications in real estate,” he said.

Before long, he was back in Oklahoma, learning how to fly the quadrocopter. He flies it using Fat Shark interactive goggles, so he sees what the camera sees.

“Guys who dress up at Star Trek conventions think these are geeky. That's how geeky they are,” he said of the glasses.

It looks fun. But it's meant to enhance business.

“We use it mainly to take site survey types of pictures or to display property at unique angles or unique ways that aerials or still ground photography doesn't let you get,” Jackson said.

Craig Tucker, managing broker, said he'd already had a client ask if the mini flier could be used to video inside an office building. Answer: Yes.

Jackson explained the advantages of the drone video — once edited by Marcie Price, graphic designer — over aerial photography and video.

“Aerials are dated, often, so you don't get the most up-to-date pictures. They're usually also top-down, so you don't get anything but roofs and things like that. This allows you to get right up next to a building or retail center. You can see things around. You can get an idea of where you're at. You can see highways. You can see cars moving,” he said.

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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