How can a DLHowell Drone Services Help You and Your Project?

D.L. Howell & Associates’ Drone Services can benefit you with your project in many ways.
Here are some of the add-on drone services our certified drone pilots can provide to improve the development and marketing of your project.

High-Resolution Aerial Photography

Our UAS System uses a high-resolution 12-megapixel camera to capture photos of your site. Once the drone flight is scheduled, our pilots fly the drone in a stripe-like pattern, taking many pictures at different points of the property. These images are then pieced together into an orthomosaic high-resolution image of the entire site.
In the video below we show a simulated drone flight:

In the example video above, the flight of Villa Maria was taken from an altitude of 250 feet. Below is example imagery from the Villa Maria Academy:

Along with this orthomosaic image, upon request, we can take additional photos and produce a video of the site that can be used for the project or marketing purposes.
Take a look at our YouTube Channel to see project videos we’ve produced.

Click Here to visit the D.L.Howell YouTube Channel


Image Comparison

In the image below, we will compare our high-resolution drone orthographic image to the same image area from Google Earth. The top image shows the high-resolution drone image and the bottom image shows the lower resolution Google Earth image.

Having “same day” drone imagery of your site leads to more accurate measurements and better site planning. For reference, the most recent Google Earth satellite image for the West Chester area was taken on 05/24/2016. From the same parking lot, you can see the drone’s photography on top compared with the satellite image on the bottom.


Another feature of a drone flight is the ability to overlay your latest site plan on top of the drone high-resolution image.
See an example from plans below.:  Click on the image to see a larger view.

No Aerial Image, Google Earth only

Drone Aerial Image

Drone Aerial Image with Overlay



We can also use the drone to capture panoramic images. These panoramas can show you a 360° view of your property. Below, you can see seepage bed construction on 510 E. Barnard Street in West Chester Borough.

If you have a project or site that can benefit from our drone services, please contact D.L.Howell & Associates, and we would be happy to discuss how we can assist you.

Stormwater Management in Philadelphia (Why Combined Sewers are Bad)

Stormwater Management in Philadelphia (Why Combined Sewers are Bad)

The city of Philadelphia is over 300 years old. As old as it is, there is undoubtedly very old infrastructure including combined sewers. A combined sewer is a sewer that takes in both stormwater and sanitary (wastewater) flow. Three-quarters of the city is connected to a combined sewer. It may have been an easy solution at the time, but as more development occurs, it becomes harder to manage the sewers. When there is no rain or snow, the sewer systems and treatment plants can handle the wastewater inflow. But when heavy rainfall occurs, the system sometimes overflows, and the city deals with this by having the networks of pipes overflow into a nearby river (Delaware River, Schuylkill River, Cobbs Creek, etc.). This means during heavy rainstorms there is a mixture of stormwater and wastewater going straight into the rivers! Overflows into the rivers increase erosion and negatively impact a river’s health (plants and critters). This is where stormwater management comes in. The City of Philadelphia has been working hard to manage their stormwater runoff better to prevent these systems overflows from occurring. Strict stormwater guidelines are in place for private developments, and in 2011 the city implemented their Green City Clean Waters program. They plan to invest $2.4 billion over 25 years in public stormwater infrastructure. They have been reconstructing public areas throughout the city using green stormwater infrastructure (GSI). These GSI components include things like rain gardens, stormwater tree trenches, and porous pavement. So far over 1,100 stormwater tools have been installed; hopefully, they can keep up this trend and meet their goal of reducing stormwater runoff by 85%.

P.S. If you own property within the City of Philadelphia and are managing stormwater on it, you might be eligible for the Stormwater Credits Program! Visit  for more information.

How Do You Define Engineer?

The word engineer is defined in two ways. The first and most identifiable way is used as a noun which describes “a person who designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines, or public works.” This usually implies a person with a degree and/or license in engineering. The second usage is as a verb- “to design or build”. This is used in a sentence as “He’s engineered several big industrial projects.” Used in this way, the term “engineer” is a lot vaguer and does not necessarily have to refer to actual engineers.

This definition was put to the test in 2015 as the Mississippi Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors notified an Alabama-based automotive service provider company, Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers (EOC), that they did not have any “tire engineers” on staff. Therefore, violating the state’s licensing code. The Mississippi legislature does not allow any business to use the term engineer for commercial identification unless the said company is licensed to perform engineering services.

Unbudgingly, EOC filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the business name Tire Engineers was protected by the free speech clause of the 1st Amendment and that the board was misinterpreting its statute. This is where the definition of the word engineer fits in. The court claims that their name is misleading and could be taken by consumers to mean they perform engineering services and have licensed engineers (none of which they have).

In response, the court took a public opinion poll via telephone with 70 percent of respondents agreeing that the name “Tire Engineers” was misleading.” However, EOC rejected this evidence, stating that the question was “leading and suggestive.” The question asked was “By using the name ‘Tire Engineers’, the company is suggesting it has professional engineers on its staff. Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree, unsure?” In statistics, this is what’s known as response bias- where the survey, designed by the board’s attorneys, was worded in a way designed to evoke a certain response out of the telephone respondents. However, despite their complaints, the court held up that the results could be used as evidence.

The court found that the board did not misinterpret its statute and that the 1st Amendment did not apply to their commercial speech because it was suggestive and misleading. Since the case, the EOC has appealed the decision to the US Court of Appeals and will be met at a later date.

The term engineer can have different meanings depending on the circumstance. In my opinion, the term engineer gave credibility to a company where it was not deserved. If the company had licensed engineers on staff, then the credibility given to the name Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers is deserved and not misleading. This goes to show why obtaining a professional engineering license is extremely important here at DLHowell.