About Maestro

The next time you hear a buzzing sound on your job site, it may not be a power tool. It could be a drone—here’s why.

Drones are quickly becoming a go-to tool on construction sites for data collection and analysis. They’re redefining workflows, saving time, and cutting costs in new ways. That’s why it’s no surprise that drone use on job sites has increased nearly 240% this year alone.

The construction industry is no stranger to inefficiencies. In fact, the average large construction project costs 80% more than budgeted and run 20 months behind schedule*. While that may seem surprising to some, those who work in construction know that it’s easy for a project to fall behind.

Often times, these delays are unavoidable. A client may be pushing for more control over a project, or crews are overbooked. But other challenges arise as a result of aging processes and technology: waiting for safety checks before starting construction or the painstaking job of collecting data on your project’s progress.

Drones help eliminate these inefficiencies, saving your team precious time and costs. Here are three ways drones could change the construction industry:

Automated Data Collection

Currently, pilots are required to monitor and operate a drone every time it flies. But what if all drone operators had to do is schedule flights and review data? And drones took care of the rest — navigating flights around structures and adjusting course automatically to create the most accurate map or 3D model possible? Drones will make site safety and monitoring smooth and accurate.

Watch our recent webinar to hear experts weigh in on the future of drones in the Age of Automation.

Seamless Integration with Industry Tools

Architecture, engineering, and construction professionals all rely on BIM software (Building Information Modeling) to design and manage the construction process. Integration with drone software makes the creation of 3D models even easier, leading to conclusive insights around progress tracking to design plans. From reducing project inefficiencies to recommendations for keeping a project on track, drones streamline every aspect of the process.

Explore DroneDeploy’s App Market to see more than 80 apps and integrations that you can leverage on your job site.

Highly Accurate Maps and 3D Models

Machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence) helps drones identify objects and ground control points on site. A drone with the right software can compile instant insights before it even lands (see: Live Map). Site managers can measure daily stockpile volumes or detect dangerous areas within minutes — all without human intervention.


For real-time decision making on the job site, use DroneDeploy’s suite of tools to make instant area, length, and volume measurements.

These maps and models can drive smarter decisions and better collaboration between on-site and back-office teams. Just ask Ryan Moret, a Field Solutions Manager with McCarthy Building Companies. Ryan uses DroneDeploy’s suite of built-in measurement tools to inform his day-to-day work.

“I can tell how many square feet of roof we’ve put down, how much square footage of concrete is left to pour. If we’re trying to figure out truck access, we can measure the width of a road or gate or how much room we need to clear out for material to make the site clean and organized.” — Ryan Moret, Field Solutions Manager, McCarthy Building Companies

Learn about DroneDeploy’s new Map Engine—the world’s first machine learning-powered photogrammetry engine for industry.

The latest drone hardware enables construction companies — historically slow to adopt new technologies — to experiment with new workflows with relatively low risk. This year and beyond, drones are on track to be adopted on job sites everywhere. Keep your eyes on the sky. If there aren’t drones buzzing around your job site today, they may be taking flight tomorrow.

Where to Learn More

Interested in learning more about how drones can improve safety and efficiency on construction sites? Tune into our ongoing construction webinar series:

Ready to bring drones to your job site? Read our guide to starting a drone program.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.



Coming to a Construction Site Near You: Drones was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Learn why drones should be part of your technology roadmap in 2018 and beyond.

Growers have always had high expectations for drones. But the early drone days left a lot to be desired from hardware and software alike. Now it’s 2018, and the era of high price tags and low usability are over. Today’s drones and software — powered by cloud computing and advanced analytics — bring real value to the farm.

Last month, we hosted a webinar featuring ag experts Chad Colby and Kyle Miller. During the session, they dug into the history of drones on the farm and shared their top reasons to consider adding drones to your precision ag program.

If you’ve been on the fence about investing in drones, this is the webinar for you. Read on for a quick recap, or watch the full webinar recording here.


DJI drones are reliable, affordable, and available at your local electronics store.

Drone Hardware is Accessible to the Average Grower

Long gone are the days of building a drone, experimenting with after-market cameras, or investing a small fortune into your bird. Today’s drone hardware is ready to go out of the box and more reliable than ever.

“In the past, I invested as much as $40,000 into camera systems,” says Chad. “But I don’t have any of that stuff today because it just wasn’t practical.”

And he should know, he’s was an early adopter starting back in 2011. Chad has seen his fair share of failed flights and Frankenstein drones return without a single image.

You can now get off the ground for less than $2,000 — which sure beats a $10–40K investment in something that might not even work. The best part? DJI drones are available at your local Best Buy.

Missed the live webinar? Don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered with a complete recording here.

Drone Software is More Reliable Than Ever

Back in the day, getting drones to talk to computers was no easy task. And it wasn’t uncommon for drone imagery to take a day or more to process, if you were able to process at all. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. We’ve made huge strides in what’s possible with DroneDeploy’s cloud-based platform and image processing capabilities. Not to mention you no longer need ground stations or PCs to communicate with your drone. You can now head out into the field armed only with a drone and tablet to collect high-res imagery in minutes with our simple, easy-to-use mobile app at your fingertips.

Seamless Image Stitching is Now the Norm

If you flew your fields late in the season over the past few years, you more than likely experienced stitching issues similar to the images below. Why? Because image processing engines at the time weren’t designed to handle late-season homogenous imagery like that of a corn or soy bean field. These images often resulted in “holes” appearing in your processed map, which isn’t very helpful if you’re trying to crop scout. We’ve since put in a lot of work to fix this, and the results are exciting. “That’s the biggest thing that has changed with this software,” said Chad on the webinar.

“I can stitch field maps every single time now, and that’s a big deal.”—Chad Colby, Colby AgTech


Late-stage crops are no longer an issue. The latest improvements to DroneDeploy’s Map Engine stitch maps seamlessly, no matter what time of the season you fly.

Real-Time Insights are Now a Reality with Live Map

Changes happen fast during the growing season. Having access to timely, accurate information in the field is key to identifying and minimizing the impact of pests, disease, and other crop issues. Where growers might wait days for airplane or satellite imagery, or spend hours uploading and processing a typical drone map, Live Map can capture a field map in minutes as the drone flies. “You can get field data from the tailgate of your pickup truck,” said Chad. “This is what I am most excited about, because it opens up entirely new possibilities.”

https://medium.com/media/44b4ffbabc8323c416353be9c601499c/href

Missed the live webinar? Don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered with a complete recording here.

An Entire Drone Ecosystem Has Emerged

If you’re like most precision growers, you use farm management software to keep track of your fields, generate prescriptions, and analyze historical data. So how do you integrate drone data into your software workflow without sacrificing time or extra resources?

That’s where the DroneDeploy App Market comes in. Since we launched it back in 2016, more than 80 app partners have invested in integrations with DroneDeploy. This means that you can quickly import field boundaries, export crop maps, share elevation data, and more with the help of our partner apps. From industry leaders like John Deere and Climate Corporation, to AI innovators like Agremo, you’ve got an entire ecosystem to lean on.

Where to Learn More

eBook: Drones in Agriculture

Be sure to read our latest eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Drones on the Farm.


Download our free eBook to learn more about drones in agriculture.

Drones in agriculture webinar series

Get Started with DroneDeploy



5 Reasons It’s Time to Invest in Drones on the Farm was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


DroneDeploy unveils Map Engine, upgrades the GCP workflow, improves speed and quality of our 3D viewer, and announces new beta programs.

This month we rolled out a number of new and improved features to the DroneDeploy platform. Read on to get the full details behind all the new enhancements and sign up for our latest beta programs.

Process Data Faster with Map Engine

Last week we announced Map Engine, the world’s first machine learning-driven photogrammetry engine on the market. This release comes after a successful beta period where Map Engine processed 30K+ maps per month for more than 4,000 customers across 180 countries. Map Engine is 30–50% faster than previous releases, and gets smarter as customers make more maps. The best news? Map Engine is already available to all DroneDeploy customers. Create a map today to see the speed and quality improvements.

Identify GCP Targets Faster Than Ever

Over the past year we’ve invested significant efforts into streamlining our GCP workflow. In the latest release, DroneDeploy now detects GCP targets in oblique photos with greater speed and accuracy. We also support the most recent EPSG codes and a wider range of codes for every location, including ESRI FIPS codes. Get more details and and read our best practices in our GCP support docs.

New to GCPs? Get the breakdown and learn when to use them here.

See 3D Models in Higher Resolution

In July, we launched our faster, more responsive, and higher-resolution 3D viewer to support larger data sets. This month we made improvements so that 3D models render with greater detail and sharpness. We also added the ability to turn on HD mode so you can view and share higher resolution models. Explore these changes by signing in to your DroneDeploy account today.

Be a Part Of Our Latest Beta Programs

We believe direct user feedback is critical to making better products and helping guide our roadmap. And we’d like to invite you to be one of the first customers to share feedback on two new features in beta: Mobile Uploads and Large Maps. Read on to learn more.

Mobile Uploads

In our quest to streamline workflows and make your operations more efficient, we’re thrilled to announce our support for Mobile Uploads, which is officially in beta. Mobile Uploads makes transferring images from your DJI drone to the cloud a cinch. Learn more here, and sign up for the beta.

Large Maps

DroneDeploy’s Map Engine enables us to process massive areas without sacrificing quality. We are testing processing of maps up to 10,000 images. If you have large data sets, please contact us to join our beta program.

DroneDeploy Conference 2018 — Early Bird Registration Now Open

Join us in San Francisco October 11–12th to see the future of drones in industry. Plus we’ve got plenty of exciting product announcements in the pipeline that you don’t want to miss (you may recall some of last year’s announcements). You’ll get the opportunity to sit front and center as we unveil the future of DroneDeploy.

The 2-day event will be filled with training workshops and exciting speakers including Katerra, DJI, Nature Conservancy, Climate Corp and more! And of course the famous DroneDeploy parties. Read more here and register today.

Where to Learn More

Read more about our recent product updates and releases including:

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.



Product Release Wrap-Up August 2018 was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Why the path to mass adoption of solar power — and the 3 cent KwH — is being forged with drones

Last year, the US Department of Energy announced that the SunShot Initiative successfully met its 2020 utility-scale solar cost target of $0.06 per kilowatt hour three years earlier than expected. This milestone marks a huge step forward for the industry as it moves toward a greener future that’s less reliant on fossil fuels.

While 6 cents may sound cheap, it’s far from the bottom. The SunShot Initiative is now working towards another lofty goal for 2030: $0.03 per KwH. This benchmark would make solar energy one of the least expensive options for new power generation, and help drive mass adoption on a national scale.

With this goal in mind, the focus will shift to finding new ways to cut all-in solar system costs and improve the performance of solar technologies. That’s where drones come in. Drones have already shown value for solar operators in the commercial and residential sectors, but we think there is still much to be gained from these flying robots. Without drones, companies will struggle to drive smarter workflows and future innovations. And we believe this is where the bigger opportunity lies. Here’s why:

Hardware Advancements Have Driven Down Costs. Until Now.

Solar energy has seen a good run over the last decade. Costs have come down almost 90%. Meanwhile, adoption has skyrocketed thanks to the lower prices.


The reduction of utility-scale solar energy costs have come down considerably since 2009. Source: Lazard.

To date, these cost reductions have mostly been driven by hardware advancements in solar modules, inverters, and other electrical components. While this has been a boon for the industry, it’s left little room for further efficiency to be gleaned in the near term from additional advancements to PV system hardware.


Installed PV System Prices over time. Source: SunShot Initiative.

Which brings us to software. We believe the next wave of innovation will come in the form of smarter, more efficient workflows powered by software and actionable data. Drone software to be precise. As the old adage goes, “work smarter, not harder,” which drone software enables through faster data collection, analysis, and reporting. Drones offer the same benefits to solar as other mainstream industry adopters, like construction, where drones have already been proven. And they are already shaking up solar design, installation, and inspection workflows in a big way.

The High Cost of Construction Can Be Offset with Reduced Labor Costs

The rising costs of construction, operations, and maintenance eat away at margins. And without significant hardware advancements to pad the bottom line, companies need to find ways to reduce costs at this stage in the industry’s growth.

Drones (paired with powerful software like DroneDeploy) can help. How exactly? By making workers more productive and lowering labor costs and safety risk along the way. For the solar surveyor measuring roofs before panel layouts get designed and installed, drones eliminate the need to scale rooftops and take manual measurements. The best part? It can take as little as 20 minutes to map a site, collect accurate data, and begin processing a drone map in the cloud. This results in a 3X boost in productivity and less time spent in the field.

And the buck doesn’t stop there. Designers, installers, and inspectors also save time by putting drones to work.


With Thermal Live Map, a solar farm can be inspected from the sky. Photo courtesy of DJI.

Peak Efficiency Will Be Unlocked with Drone Insights

As solar sites become more distributed, increasingly remote, and reach a larger scale, the cost-saving effect of drones will only be amplified. Consider the distributed nature of solar projects and the challenges operators face to keep them running at maximum capacity.

Drones can access difficult to reach places and spot broken solar cells in minutes — instead of hours or days — an increase the efficiency of maintenance crews. The latest software powered by edge computing, machine learning, and API tools eliminate the complexity of inspecting, repairing, and reporting issues on solar farms. Not to mention that drones improve worker safety by keeping boots on the ground and out of the sun for long periods of time.


Real-time thermal drone maps help spot broken cells in minutes, drastically reducing inspection and maintenance cycles for solar operators.

By shortening the inspection and maintenance cycles, solar operators can reduce downtime and ensure solar farms run at peak efficiency. Put simply, this means more energy is produced at a lower cost to both the operator and the consumer. Which is precisely the goal of the SunShot program.


SunShot’s Solar Power Goal: 50% of U.S. Electricity by 2030. Source: SunShot Initiative

Looking Ahead

We think the future of solar energy in the US is bright. And as drone use continues to increase in the solar industry, so too does the potential that solar power will become a primary source of all electricity in the United States. By reducing the total cost of solar power production and achieving the long sought after $0.03 KwH, we will see solar energy take over within our lifetime.

Where to Learn More

So where do solar operators go from here? Well, for starters, we’ve got the resources to help you get your drone program off the ground. And we’re also hosting a user conference this fall where you can learn, network, and explore what’s possible with drones on your job sites.

In the meantime, check out these resources or sign up to start using DroneDeploy today.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.



Drones: The Solar Industry’s New Best Friend was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Wirelessly transfer drone images to the cloud as soon as your drone lands.

Drones are supposed to increase efficiency. But there is nothing efficient about having to travel back to the office or rely on SD cards to upload drone imagery. That’s why we’re excited to announce our support for Mobile Uploads, which is now officially in beta.

Want to join the Mobile Uploads beta program? Sign up here.

Read on to learn more about this new feature including step-by-step instructions, hardware requirements, and answers to frequently asked questions.

What are Mobile Uploads?

With Mobile Uploads, you can now wirelessly transfer images to the cloud for immediate processing.

The mobile upload process occurs in two steps:

  1. Transmit images from the drone to your mobile device.
  2. Upload images from your mobile device to the DroneDeploy cloud to begin processing.

Read on for a complete walkthrough below.

What are the Hardware and Flight Requirements?

To use the new Mobile Uploads feature you’ll need to use the latest iOS devices and DJI drone systems. See a list of compatible drones and devices below:

Recommended iOS Devices

Mobile Uploads is only available on iOS devices. For a complete list of our supported iOS devices, please review our support documents.

Recommended Drones

Mobile Uploads use DJI Lightbridge and OcuSync technology, and are only compatible with the following DJI drone systems:

  • DJI Phantom Series: Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Phantom 4 Advanced, and Phantom 4 V2
  • Mavic Series: Mavic Pro
  • M Series: M200 and M210

Flight Requirements*

Before using the Mobile Uploads feature, make sure your plan meets the following requirements:

1) Estimated image count is less than 240

2) Live Map is disabled

3) You drone has sufficient charge to complete the entire flight with a single battery and you have enough available storage on your mobile device (>2GB)

*Please note that Mobile Uploads is not compatible with flights that capture more than 250 images, multi-battery flights, or fights using Live Map.

How Do I Upload Images on My Mobile Device?

Step 1: Transfer Images to Your Mobile Device

Once a flight is complete, you can choose to ‘Upload Now’ feature, which will begin the mobile upload process. If you don’t want to use Mobile Uploads, choose to ‘Upload Later’, which prepares the map for SD card upload.

DJI requires your drone to have at least 30% charge remaining to initiate a mobile transfer so you may need to swap your drone’s battery before selecting ‘Upload Now’.


To begin the mobile uploading process, select ‘Upload Now’.

After selecting ‘Upload Now’, images will begin transferring from the drone to your mobile device. Make sure to leave the drone/controller on, keep the DroneDeploy app open, and do not disconnect your USB cable.

You can cancel the transfer at any time by pressing ‘Cancel Transfer’. If you select ‘Cancel Transfer’ by mistake, return to the mobile uploads page by selecting the plan on your dashboard — so long as you have not closed the DroneDeploy app or disconnected. This will open the mobile upload page and resume the transfer process.


Image transfer begins after you select ‘Upload Now’.

Step 2: Upload Images to DroneDeploy

Once the images have successfully transferred to your mobile device, they will automatically begin uploading to DroneDeploy. The drone and controller can be turned off for this upload.

No internet connection? No problem. Select ‘Pause and Resume Later’ if you do not have an internet connection, and complete the process later.


Image upload begins once the data is transferred from the drone to your iOS device.

Step 3: Process Your Map

Your map will begin processing as soon as the images have completed uploading to the cloud.


Processing begins as soon as image transfer to the mobile device is completed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to be a paid customer to try mobile uploads?

A: All DroneDeploy users have access to mobile uploads. This includes free customers.

Q: How long does a mobile upload typically take?

A: The initial transfer from the drone to your mobile device takes an average of 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the total number of images and your current DJI Lightbridge or OcuSync signal strength. The upload from your mobile device to the cloud depends on the speed of your wifi or cellular connectivity.

Q: Do I need an internet connection to transfer images from the drone to my mobile device?

A: Step 1, transferring images to your mobile device, does not require an internet connection. You may complete Step 1 while offline and then start Step 2 later when wifi or a stronger cellular connection is available

Q: When will Android support mobile uploads?

A: There are no plans to support Android at this time.

Where to Learn More

  • Read more about our Mobile Uploads feature on our website.
  • Want to join the Mobile Upload beta program? Sign up here.
  • Still have questions? See our Mobile Uploads support document.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.



DroneDeploy Releases Mobile Uploads Beta for Instant Processing of Drone Data was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Meet the world’s first machine learning-driven photogrammetry engine built for industry

Photogrammetry is the complicated process of generating accurate 3D reconstructions from 2D images. It’s a challenging endeavor, involving intricate knowledge of cameras, geometry, motion, and light. Add a drone to the mix and things get even harder.

If you’ve ever tried to stitch a late-season crop map or a half-built construction site from drone imagery, you know how difficult it can be to get sharp lines or in some cases even complete maps. While it may be frustrating when this happens, it makes sense. Most photogrammetry engines weren’t built to solve these unique industry challenges. But we have some good news: that’s all changing.

Today we’re excited to release Map Engine, the world’s first Machine learning-driven photogrammetry engine built for industry. This release comes after a successful beta period where Map Engine processed 30K+ maps per month for more than 4,000 clients across 180 countries.


DroneDeploy’s Map Engine generates accurate 3D reconstructions from 2D images.

A World-Class Mapping Experience in the Cloud

By building an in-house photogrammetry solution, we’re able to rapidly develop new capabilities to solve customer problems faster — and ultimately ensure you get back high-quality data to drive your business forward.

“We have brought together the latest advances in cloud computing, computer vision, and machine learning to build a best-in-class photogrammetry pipeline that delivers accurate results in record time — no matter your workflow.” —Nicholas Pilkington, CTO at DroneDeploy

The new processing engine leverages the latest cloud infrastructure to stitch the maps faster and more accurately than ever before. With the DroneDeploy cloud, you can eliminate the need for on-premise hardware and cut maintenance and engineering costs.

This release includes four major improvements over earlier beta versions:

  1. Improved Speed: Map Engine now generates maps and models 30–50% faster. Scenes made up of hundreds of images can be processed in under an hour.
  2. Improved Accuracy: Industry-specific accuracy improvements for Agriculture, Construction, and Solar generate higher-quality results.
  3. Large Map Support: Maps of up to 10,000 images can now be quickly and accurately rendered (in beta). Sign up here to try it out.
  4. Mobile Uploads: Customers can now wirelessly transfer images to the cloud with Mobile Uploads for immediate processing (in beta). Sign up here to give it a try.

“With DroneDeploy’s latest advancements, I can process anywhere between 5–22 acres in an hour, which means faster communication and decision making for all of our field teams.” — Ray Pascua, Drone Specialist at KATERRA


Map Engine quickly identifies objects in scenes such as trees, cars, and buildings so it can optimize the processing of your drone maps and 3D models.

The More You Map, The Smarter Map Engine Gets

Unlike other photogrammetry engines, Map Engine is powered by machine learning. What does this mean for you? Well for starters, this means that Map Engine can detect and process your images in a whole new way. By quickly identifying objects in scenes such as trees, cars, and buildings, Map Engine can optimize how it processes your data. This also means you get access to smart workflows to make things fast and easy for your team, such as ground control points and automatic counting and measurements.

Even better? Map Engine gets smarter with every map you make. It’s designed to get better at processing data as more customers use it — continually making improvements as we scale our platform. So you know you’ll always get a better experience with each map you make using DroneDeploy.


With Mobile Uploads you instantly transfer images to the cloud before you leave the job site.

A Photogrammetry Engine in Your Pocket

We live in a mobile world. That’s why we’ve made Map Engine the only photogrammetry tool capable of working in real time from your mobile device. Map Engine is available on the edge, meaning you get Live Map and instant insights in the field without an internet connection. And with our new Mobile Uploads feature, you can cut the cord and instantly transfer images to the cloud before you leave the job site.

Access Map Engine Today

The best news? You already have access to these improvements. DroneDeploy’s image processing with Map Engine has grown exponentially over the past year. Since launching in beta last January, Map Engine has processed 100M gigapixels of drone imagery, and along the way, you may have noticed some of the speed and quality enhancements. But if you haven’t, there’s never been a better time to give DroneDeploy a try.

Where to Learn More

  • Get the full rundown on Map Engine by visiting our website.
  • Learn more about our new Mobile Uploads feature, including a full how-to and best practices here.
  • Sign up to join our Mobile Uploads and Large Map beta programs.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.



Introducing Map Engine was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


DroneDeploy’s annual user conference is just around the corner. Read our top reasons why you should attend.

Our annual user conference is almost here. And this year’s event is going to be bigger and better than ever. As October approaches, you may be considering making the trip to San Francisco to join hundreds of your peers in the commercial drone community for two days of speakers, networking, workshops, and training.

But is the trip worth it? We think so. While there are dozens of reasons to consider attending, we’ve put together our top five below. If you’re on the fence, read on to get a quick perspective into why DroneDeploy Conference 2018 (DDC) is one event you don’t want to miss.

See the Latest Advancements in Drone Software and Hardware

This year, we’re bringing our software and hardware partners from across the drone ecosystem right to you. Explore the exhibit hall to talk with partners, see technology showcases, and attend live demos of the latest DroneDeploy features as we take flight on-site. Plus we’ve got plenty of exciting product announcements in the pipeline that you don’t want to miss (you may recall some of last year’s announcements). You’ll get the opportunity to sit front and center as we unveil the future of DroneDeploy.

Get Hands-On Training from Product Experts

You asked, and we delivered. If you’re interested in learning how to get more out of your drone data, then look no further. DDC 2018 will provide attendees with hands-on training workshops led by our in-house product experts. Learn how to capture accurate aerial data, solve industry-specific photogrammetry challenges, and generate deeper insights with measurement and analytics tools. You’ll also get the opportunity to get answers to your top questions during interactive Q+A’s after each workshop.

Discover the Latest Industry Trends and Insights

Curious where the industry is going? DDC 2018 will feature speakers and panelists from across the drone community. Attendees can expect to hear from leading analysts and thought leaders in the construction, agriculture, and energy sectors. Get the latest industry insights from ongoing research and learn what’s ahead for companies as they integrate drones on the job site. This is your opportunity to get the inside edge straight from the source.

Network with Your Peers

We always hear from our customers that it’s helpful to speak with other industry operators. With meet-ups, breakout sessions, and networking happy hours, you’ll get plenty of time to connect with your fellow drone pros. Share insights, discuss trends, and explore solutions for your industry’s toughest challenges during the event — and after hours — at the conference table and over drinks.

Celebrate with Our Community

It’s been a tremendous year for the commercial drone industry. With record growth, we know you’ve been working hard to integrate drones on job sites as you drive valuable aerial insights for your company. That’s why you deserve to celebrate with members of the international DroneDeploy community. Our welcome reception and conference wrap party will celebrate all that we have achieved this year. So bring your positive spirit and expect to have a good time on us as we take time to say thanks for being part of DroneDeploy.

If you’re still not convinced, be sure to watch our conference recap of last year’s event.

https://medium.com/media/691ad3ca75826288dab109a94b979979/href

Where to Learn More

  • If you’re ready to take the plunge, you can register today. Act now and be sure to take advantage of the early bird pricing discount.
  • Explore this year’s agenda here.
  • Interested in speaking? Send your idea; we’ll get back to you early in September.
  • Have more questions about the event? Learn more about the venue and read our FAQ’s here.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.



5 Reasons to Attend DroneDeploy Conference 2018 was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Use DroneDeploy and Optelos to organize drone data, automate analysis, and generate aerial insights fast

Commercial drone adoption is currently at an all-time high. Flying robots now soar over job sites around the world, collecting critical information about projects, crops, and infrastructure. But we’re still far from the top. As builders, growers, engineers, and the like continue to scale their drone operations, the amount of drone data collected is only going to rise.

While it’s exciting to see companies gather more drone data, sometimes, additional information can be more of a burden than a benefit. How do you make sense of all this data and streamline the decision-making process?

Data collection is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s the analysis stage where the bulk of the value and the time investment comes in. DroneDeploy and our App Market partners like Optelos can help. We’re investing in artificial intelligence solutions to automate your workflow, and ultimately help you uncover your next discovery faster.

Export Data, Organize Workflows, and Visualize Insights with Optelos

One of the newest additions to the App Market is the Optelos Drone Work Advisor™ app. The app seamlessly transfers your collected and processed data from DroneDeploy straight into the Optelos’ Drone Work Advisor™ platform with a single click.

Optelos provides a comprehensive suite of tools that link together images, videos, maps, 2D Orthomosaics, and 3D models in a simple, dashboard — reducing the time spent analyzing and tagging your drone imagery.


Manage data with powerful analytics and results visualization

The Optelos platform provides a unified presentation layer to view images, compare orthomosaics side by side, view point clouds, and explore 3D models processed in your DroneDeploy account. You can also inspect, annotate and tag images, and view other media types including panoramas, PDFs, and Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents just to name a few.


Optelos provides comprehensive support to view your data

Read on to get a rundown of the key features and learn how to gain insights faster by adding the Optelos app to your DroneDeploy account today.

Compare Orthomosaics, Digital Elevation Models, and More Side by Side

Quickly overlay orthomosaics in different layers and compare them over time or side by side. This feature makes it simple to see site progress or compare maps to elevation models instantly.

Assign Tasks, Highlight Issues and add Descriptions to Drone Imagery

As you work through your maps and photos, you can assign tasks, submit descriptions, and even tag issues quickly — all of which is searchable using filters. This makes team collaboration efficient and straightforward.

Automate Analysis with AI-Powered Insights

Optelos offers Enterprise customers the ability to automate image inspection. Save time by identifying and tagging known issues such as roof damage, broken solar cells, and more. This eliminates time spent poring through images from visual inspections and tagging issues manually.

Share Data and Generate Customized Reports in Minutes

Once data has been analyzed, it’s easy to share your insights with key stakeholders. You can either share folders directly or generate custom reports in PDF and HTML formats.

Want to start taking advantage of the combined power of DroneDeploy and Optelos? Add the Optelos Drone Work Advisor™ app to your DroneDeploy Dashboard to get started.

The Optelos Drone Work Advisor™ App: Install and Export In a Few Easy Steps

With efficient data transfer in mind, the Optelos Drone Work Advisor™ App reduces the steps needed to export project overlays and images with a few simple clicks.

Getting started is easy. After installing the app, you can immediately upload your exports to the Optelos platform. Just log in and choose which images and layers (Orthomosaic, 3D model, DEM) you want to transfer. The intuitive interface makes the process quick and painless — even for new users.

1. Transfer exported layers to Optelos

Transfer all available export layers from DroneDeploy, including Orthomosaics, NDVI, Elevation and PointCloud. These datasets are automatically processed in Optelos to provide unique features like OrthoCompare™ and FlyView™ which organize, analyze, and present results to clients’ stakeholders

2. Transfer all images to Optelos

Transfer all drone images and Optelos will automatically replace the DroneDeploy file ID with the original file name. This additional processing by Optelos helps you recognize and organize data. The Optelos AI Analytics algorithms can automatically inspect, tag and classify the images to deliver actionable insights.

3. Automatically Create Work Packages in Optelos

Create a new project in Optelos’ Drone Work Advisor™ directly from the Optelos app by easily transferring all of your DroneDeploy Project deliverables. This makes it easy for stakeholders to access and self-interrogate those products

Where to Learn More

  • Learn More about Optelos here.
  • Explore the Optelos Drone Work Advisor™ app in our App Market.
  • Learn more about the future of AI and automation in the commercial drone industry in our recent webinar.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.



Making Sense of Big Drone Data was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


UAVs help construction pros increase safety and keep workers out of harm’s way

Earlier this year, a drone image of a great white shark swimming alongside an unsuspecting paddle-boarder went viral online. The powerful picture underscores what every construction project manager already knows: some of the most dangerous potential problems may be lurking just out of sight.

While sharks usually aren’t a problem on construction sites, there are plenty of other life-threatening hazards you do have to worry about, from scaling rooftops to climbing ladders. In fact, one government study found that 21% of the 991 workplace fatalities in the U.S. in 2016 were in the construction industry. What’s more, workers’ comp claims cost American companies and taxpayers billions of dollars a year.

We work with construction companies around the world, and the the majority of them agree: drones improve safety on their job sites. So how can you benefit from their experience? Read on for five tips from construction pros on boosting site safety with the help of flying robots.

Steer Clear of Dangerous Situations

Although some situations require human inspection, many workplace injuries can be eliminated by simply keeping people out of harm’s way. Because let’s face it, there is nothing safe about scaling a roof to check for damage or climbing up scaffolding to complete vertical inspections on the face of a newly built project.

The solution for many potentially dangerous situations is to use the same technology that spotted that great white shark: drones. Drones now give project and site managers a way to access hard-to-reach or accessible-but-dangerous locations. These flying robots are ideal for assessing building envelopes or investigating a roof for damage — eliminating the need for someone to scale up scaffolding or climb across a rooftop.

Harness the Power of Drone Data

Why climb a ladder or walk across a rooftop if you don’t have to? Many inspections come back without actionable findings. Which means that someone put their life on the line for nothing. Workers shouldn’t have to expose themselves to danger unless it’s necessary — to make repairs or installations for example.

Drone data can help you reduce or even eliminate time spent in dangerous areas. Just ask Grant Hagen, a VDC manager with the Beck Group. He recently used drones to inspect a roof at the University of Texas — Dallas at night, when the chances of accidents are even greater. How’d he do this? He performed a series of thermal inspections using DroneDeploy’s aerial mapping capabilities for analysis.


Thermal imagery showed areas where leaks were present on the roof.

Thermal data captured from the drone provided a much more detailed and accurate picture of the site than other methods — such as helicopters — could deliver. And, as you can imagine, it was much less expensive. Better yet, the thermal imagery pinpointed the problem areas on the roof so that inspectors knew precisely where to look. “Rather than searching for a needle in a haystack, you have a map to tell you right where to look,” said Grant. This reduced the time spent on the roof and helped keep workers out of harm’s way.

Embrace the Latest Technology

Virtual reality is the next big thing on the horizon for managing job site safety, so get your VR safety goggles ready to go. Detailed data from drones are already used to facilitate virtual walk-throughs of job sites.

Now, inspectors can do 360-degree inspections from virtually anywhere. VR provides a detailed review of potentially dangerous site conditions and makes it easy to focus on areas of concern. But VR isn’t just an inspection tool. You’ll be able to use this technology to conduct safety training for workers or to walk clients through construction work in progress.

Just ask Russel Byrd, a VDC coordinator at Brasfield & Gorrie, an Alabama-based General Contractor. “Virtual reality provides us with the ability to seamlessly integrate new technologies with various construction operations, improve job site safety, and increase the information available to key stakeholders,” says Russell Byrd.

Recently, their virtual design and construction team gave hospital staff a virtual tour of a facility only weeks after construction started. This allowed staff to fully experience the space to a high degree of detail, ultimately resulting in greater feedback on issues such as location of medical gas outlets and equipment placement. Early input allowed Brasfield & Gorrie to make necessary changes that will ultimately create a better, and also safer, workplace.

The Bottom Line

If you’re serious about reducing worksite hazards you should actively be considering the drones and aerial imagery. We think these flying robots should be on every contractors technology roadmap. Because as Grant Hagen from the Beck Group says, “It’s unlike anything else in construction technology right now.”

Where to Learn More

Interested in learning more about how drones can improve safety and efficiency on construction sites? Tune into our ongoing construction webinar series:

Ready to bring drones to your job site? Read our guide to starting a drone program.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.



3 Ways to Boost Job Site Safety with Drones was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Aerial imagery replaces boots on the ground and cuts field time by 60% for civil engineering firm Bolton & Menk

Assessing the condition of roadways has historically been a time-sink for the engineers responsible for prioritizing what to fix, and when. Now, rather than relying on cumbersome ground-based surveys and outdated aerial maps, project teams can use drones to capture real-time imagery that yields a treasure trove of actionable data


Bolton & Menk is an engineering, planning and consulting firm.

Engineering and Consulting firm Bolton & Menk realized the benefits of drone data after recently completing a major roadway pavement analysis for the city of Elko New Market, Minn. The firm’s decision to use a DJI Phantom 4 drone on the project paid big dividends. In fact, using a drone powered by DroneDeploy’s enterprise platform reduced the firm’s time in the field by about 60% — while also collecting data to create high-resolution imagery that will be used by the city for years to come.

Drone Maps Provide High-Value Data for City Officials

Bolton & Menk gathered imagery to evaluate the deterioration of pavement across 26 miles of roadway infrastructure. The data helped the engineering team recommend a construction and maintenance timetable based on a real-time assessment of existing road conditions.


A member of the Bolton & Menk flight crew preparing for takeoff in the field.

The project was completed in 18 flights by the two-person flight crew, along with spotters to ensure that the bird was in the right place at the right time. The team used DroneDeploy’s Linear Flight Plan app to plan flights across the whole city.

“The linear flight planning functionality eliminated a lot of complexity for our team,” said GIS project manager Nick Meyers. “We were able to plan and map long stretches of roadways in minutes.”


A section of the city mapped with DroneDeploy. Cracking along the roadway is clearly present in the high-resolution drone map.

It took two days to fly and capture all the data needed for the project. In contrast, it would have taken a week to traverse the 26 miles by car and on foot using the traditional method. Flying the drone also reduced the need for “windshield” surveys using the PASER scale: a spreadsheet-heavy solution for estimating road pavement conditions. Instead, the Bolton & Menk team used DroneDeploy for data collection and processing — and packaged the data for integration with GIS applications used by office staff to generate condition ratings.


A close up of “alligator cracking” seen throughout the city’s roadways. Cracking like this needs to be evaluated to determine a maintenance timetable.

Replacing boots on the ground with drone surveys dramatically improved Bolton & Menk’s workflow.

“DroneDeploy automatically added a lot of information into the database,” Nick says. “We could update or modify as needed, and then just run a script at the end. No more cumbersome process of using multiple excel sheets to make calculations.”

Moreover, GIS Technician and UAV Services team member Kyle Mullen adds, the drones collected much more data than windshield surveys — and much faster. “A lot of times, windshield and ground-based surveys don’t give as complete a perspective as you get from aerial imagery,” he says. “And going out and measuring on foot is extremely time-consuming.”

But drone imagery has value beyond just saving time and money. Kyle adds that city officials were so pleased with the imagery that they made requests to use the deliverables in other projects outside of the roadway analysis immediately. The city plans to use the data for future utility infrastructure planning.

Compiling Accurate Data and Measurements. Fast.

Bolton & Menk used real-time drone imagery to compile accurate imagery and measurements for analysis. It took the engineering team just one day to process the drone images. What’s more, DroneDeploy also supported exporting the data using the ArcGIS Online Web Tile Layer app, which enables users to seamlessly generate template links for maps to use as web tile layers.


The Bolton & Menk team exported data collected and processed in DroneDeploy to its GIS software for further analysis.

The maps provided a granular level of detail and documented every inch of the 26 miles of roadway. Using DroneDeploy also yielded more precise measurements than ground surveys could, giving both the engineering team and the city a better quantitative perspective on the condition of the pavement. This analysis makes it easier for city staff to analyze the data and prioritize roadway maintenance over time.

Better Collaboration Using a Platform Built for Teams

Bolton & Menk chose DroneDeploy because they wanted a single cloud-based solution to use across their team in offices throughout Minnesota, Iowa, and North Dakota. Between their UAV Services, GIS, and Municipal/Civil Engineering workgroups, the team handled everything from flyovers and mapping to analysis and reporting through DroneDeploy’s centralized enterprise dashboard and admin panel.

The firm also wanted a scalable solution with the option for implementing an enterprise-level API.


DroneDeploy’s admin panel — available with the Enterprise Plan — makes team management simple. Set user roles and permissions, and assign missions to pilots on your team from a central location.

For Bolton & Menk, DroneDeploy improved efficiency reduced the cost for data acquisition and, most importantly, enabled them to deliver a more thorough and complete analysis of the pavement conditions in Elko New Market. In the long run, that will translate into better road maintenance at a lower cost for the city. That’s an excellent thing for both taxpayers and drivers who depend on well-maintained roads for safe travel during Minnesota’s famously snowy winters.

Where to Learn More

  • Learn how utility inspection teams used DroneDeploy to cut inspection times by 50% in our recent case study.
  • Interested in using drones at your company? Learn how to set up your drone operation and take it to scale with this eBook full of expert advice from industry leaders
  • Learn how to improve commercial inspections and increase job site safety with drones in this free webinar.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.



Drones Raise the Bar for Roadway Pavement Inspection was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.