aerial Chicago real estate data

‘Big Real Estate’ Keeps Aerial Eye on Chicago

  December 14, 2018

By Greg Zimmerman

Facility managers know the value of good data. Often, they will go to great lengths to get it. For instance, the new trend in facilities is to use drones to assess roof damage or to check for roof saturation after a weather event.

But roof drones aren’t the only flying facility-data-gathering happening these days. Consider the case of a strange Cessna Caravan plane patrolling Chicago skies for several days in mid-November. More than a few residents wondered if Big Brother was watching. But, according to Block Club Chicago, the plane had much less nefarious purposes than that. Owned by real estate research firm CoStar, the plane was gathering real estate and construction data on about 400 construction sites around Chicago.

CoStar says it has documented a noticeable increase in new multi-unit buildings and hotels. And with numerous mega-developments in advanced planning stages, the city’s landscape will continue to change dramatically in the coming years.

The plane is more efficient than a drone for gathering video imagery because it can cover more territory, and small planes are “more conducive to covering data points in both developed urban and rural areas,” says a CoStar representative. The CoStar team went out on two three-hour flights per day, while a drone can only go 20 to 30 minutes per battery charge.

The Block Club Chicago story includes great aerial photos of landmark Chicago sites.

Greg Zimmerman is executive editor of Building Operating Management. Read his cover story on how buildings are tackling climate change.


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