The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) in Korea will be using drones to conduct roof inspections of its hanok buildings. Hanok buildings are traditional to Korea, and feature roofs made by connecting rice and wheat straws. This construction creates a well insulated building, but they are subject to rot and must be changed every year or two. There are approximately 8,000 hanok buildings in Seoul.
Previously, roof inspections were conducted by workers physically climbing on the structures to take photographs. Now, the city will fly drones above hanok buildings to efficiently and safely conduct inspections, along with taking detailed photographs to analyze the condition of the roof and tiles from various angles and positions.
Since 2015, SMG has been operating the Seoul Hanok Support Centre in a bid to revive hanok, as part of its efforts to preserve and promote traditional Korean culture. Along with providing hanok inspection and maintenance services, the 10-year program for the preservation of hanok also offers an assistance and loan business (maximum KRW 100,000,000 – ~US$80,000). The center performs more than 200 on-site visits annually in response to citizens’ requests for inspection. As more than half of inspection requests are related to roof tiles, it is expected that this drone inspection service will serve as an opportunity to greatly improve the maintenance of the hanok buildings. Beginning this year, the city will make this drone inspection service available to any hanok homeowner who files a request via the Seoul Hanok Support Center for roof leaks and other problems.