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This Space-Based App Could Tell if Your Roof Needs Repair via Google Earth

Dec 09, 2016 04:30 AM EST
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Two companies are now using satellite imagery to provide homeowners with more accurate estimates for roof construction work.
(Photo : Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Homeowners could now look at space-based apps to get more accurate estimates for roof construction needs.

Two companies are using satellite imagery to provide customers with more information about prices of roof repair to connect them with more competitive contractors, New Scientist reports.

Roofr, which is based in Toronto, Canada, and Viirt, based in Portland, Oregon, generate estimates by showing customers aerial shots of their homes using Google Earth images. Homeowners will only need to draw an outline around their roof using a tool on the firm's website and choose either shallow, medium or steep gradient.

Roof measurements are automatically computed, together with the additional adjustments (depending on the gradient) and deliver an instant free estimate. Homeowners could then send out the job to an associated contractor and the company will get a cut of the final cost.

"If the homeowner highlights their roof perfectly, the price it spits out is usually within five per cent of our contractors' bids," Richard Nelson, chief executive of Roofr, told New Scientist. "It creates transparency for the homeowner."

Roofr plans to expand to four more Canadian cities in the spring with new investments. Viirt was able to raise $900,000 in venture capital funding in 2015 and are fully booked for the rest of the season.

According to Josh Davis, founder of Viirt, the system can generate a formal roofing bid in one minute or less with 5 percent accuracy. The technology will streamline the overall process from start to finish and introduce "roofing insider" tools to residents that have previously not been available to the public, Digital Journal reports.

"Thanks to internet and satellite technology, Viirt will be able to execute most project management functions remotely and automatically, especially on the front end," Davis told Digital Journal.

According to Nelson, the Google Earth tool is the heart of their system, providing measurements with 98 percent accuracy. Satellite imagery is becoming increasingly popular in many home maintenance applications. Other companies are already using it to measure gardens and provide lawn care estimates, New Scientist reports.

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