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Flood Protection in the Great Plains: Moore Engineering Wins the 2023 Engineering Drone Video of the Year Competition

Flood Protection in the Great Plains: Moore Engineering Wins the 2023 Engineering Drone Video of the Year Competition

The closing of the 2023 Engineering Drone Video of the Year Competition marks a period of celebration that not only recognizes the outstanding videos that graced this year’s competition, but also the tremendous impact that drones and UAV technology have had on our wide-reaching industry.  The 2023 EDVY finalists represent projects from eight different states as well as Puerto Rico.  Ranging from large scale transportation and infrastructure projects to single-residential constructions and everything in between, the 2023 EDVY finalists are testament to the continuing importance of drones/UAVs to the AEC industry.

This year’s judging panel was tasked with pairing down the strongest field of competitors since EDVY was launched in 2017.  With over 30 videos submitted for consideration, the judging panel was asked to evaluate each video based on: 1)the video’s capacity to contextualize the project, 2) subject and purpose, 3) demonstrating an innovative use of drones, 4) demonstrating the flight capacity of drones, and 5) demonstrating the visual capacity of drones/UAVs.  Using these criteria, the judging panel examined each of the videos entered in the competition to determine what stood out as the best of the best.  After the initial round of judging, the final scores were close enough to merit an additional round of voting.

What emerged from this intense period of judging and evaluation were ten videos that would closely vie for the top spot in this year’s competition.  To determine what video deserves the top spot as the winner of the 2023 EDVY Competition, the audience of Civil+Structural Engineer Magazine participated in a 14-day voting period.  As has become a yearly occasion with the EDVY Competition, voting took off immediately after the videos were posted, and, over the first two days of the competition, more than 2,000 votes were cast for the finalists.  After the close of that second day, four finalists had set a good pace above the rest of the field.  One of these finalists was a submission from HSR Constructors who focused on the construction of the Brightline Phase 2 from Orlando to West Palm Beach.  Following the construction of a high speed passenger rail expansion, HSR’s submission uses drone flight to contextualize movement throughout the project, and provides key information in location specific overlays.

Another submission that emerged as a contender after day two was from the Nebraska Department of Transportation covering their UAS program launch and the Lincoln Beltway South Project.  NDOT’s submission to the 2023 EDVY competition is emblematic of the level of production that has become the standard for the competition in recent years.  Using both narration and impressive drone-produced visualizations, NDOT’s submission is an effective tool for understanding both the project being covered and how drone technology has impacted its design and development.  A similar effect was deployed to similar success with Moore Engineering’s submission covering flood infrastructure planning in the town of Lisbon, North Dakota.  Utilizing a voiceover from Lisbon’s Mayor Tim Meyer, this submission details the city’s response to intense flooding in 2009, 2010, and 2011, which was completed by working with Moore Engineering.  

As the competition moved beyond the second day of voting, the four videos vying for the top spot began to slowly fade to three.  For the next week of voting, three videos would trade and exchange places, but, as the voting period drew to a close, it soon became clear that a submission from Moore Engineering would claim the top spot.  However, as the only competitor with two videos to make the final round, the question still remained as to which of Moore’s submissions would win.  In the end, Moore Engineering’s “Maple & Upper Maple River Dams” emerged as the clear winner of the 2023 Engineering Drone Video of the Year competition, garnering over 1,000 more votes than the second place submission.  The 2023 EDVY winner gives viewers a unique perspective on two projects that have massive footprints in terms of size and impact.  The winning video uses the perspective afforded by a drone juxtaposed with textual information to give viewers a unique and important perspective of two, large-scale engineering projects.

The person responsible for both of Moore Engineering’s entries to this year’s finalists is Cody Rogness, Videographer and Media Specialist for Moore Holding Company.  Working closely with Moore Engineering as well as their other related companies, Rogness draws on his varied background–which includes TV news, TV shows, commercials, and documentaries–to produce content like the Maple and Upper Maple River Dams video that provides an important function both internally and externally.  According to Rogness, for projects like these, drones are an essential tool for communicating their scale, and that, with such a scale, drones are a great tool for saving time compared to traditional video and photography.  While Rogness is primarily involved with using drones as a tool for communicating externally, he also notes that these same qualities can be applied to design and construction with maps and other drone-generated models.  Kurt Lysne, Market Leader for Moore Engineering, says that they have historically utilized drones for preliminary design data collection, LIDAR, aerial photogrammetry, and surveying pre-existing site conditions, as well as documenting and monitoring construction.

Lysne further adds that, when coupled with an Emmy Award-winning videographer like Cody Rogness, drones become a powerful tool for marketing, giving them a powerful tool to communicate their goals and successes.  And certainly, the winning video of the 2023 competition is a demonstration of Rogness’ ability to tell a story.  To gather the footage that comprised the winning video, Rogness used the natural landscape to tell part of the story, shooting the footage during Spring flooding.  Harnessing the image of Spring floods coming over the spillways of the Maple and Upper Maple River Dams, Rogness adds a crucial element of context to their regional importance.  The winning video is unique in that it combines textual information, perspective, and the natural landscape to tell the story of two immense structures.  

Similar to winners from recent years, Cody Rogness’ winning submission on behalf of Moore Engineering can be used as a timestamp of the relationship drones and UAVs have with the AEC industry.  As Lysne puts it, the winning video, “[completes Moore’s] suite of services that drones are used for.”  By combining their important uses on the technical side of projects with the ability to tell a story that captures importance and scale, drones are an invaluable tool for communicating the importance of the work done by the AEC industry, and this year’s winner is emblematic of this ever-developing function.

Judging Panel:

Margot Moulton

Maxim Baklykov

Bryan Baker

Luke Carothers

Andrea Perotti

EDVY 2023 Top Ten:

  1. Moore Engineering–”Maple and Upper Maple River Dams”
  2. Moore Engineering–”Lisbon, ND: Spring Flooding”
  3. HSR Constructors–”Brightline Phase 2: Orlando to West Palm Beach High Speed Passenger Rail Expansion”
  4. Nebraska Department of Transportation–”UAS Program Launch/Lincoln South Beltway Project”
  5. Jose Espinal Vazquez and Associates–”VA Heroes Hospital”
  6. CRAFT | Engineering Studio–”Nantucket Residence”
  7. Caulfield and Wheeler–”CWI 2023 Engineering Drone Video Contest: Avenir”
  8. KCI Technologies–”Houston Public Works Northeast Transmission Line”
  9. GeoStabilization International
  10. CES Consulting, LLC–”Quality, Delivered”