About Maestro

Webinar Recap: A look at DroneDeploy’s newest features for the enterprise

Anyone who’s grown a team or expanded a corporate program knows that it can be challenging. There are always growing pains and obstacles to overcome—no matter the size of your company. But with a little forethought and the right tools, you can make things easier for your team as you scale.

Our newest enterprise features are designed to help large teams manage their drone data at scale. Last week, we hosted a webinar to dig into these features and take a look at how companies can leverage DroneDeploy when growing their program. Leading the webinar were DroneDeploy’s own James Pipe (Product Manager) and Ian Smith (App Market Lead).

If you missed it, don’t worry. Read on to get the rundown and access the slide deck and full recording here.

Capture and Process Drone Data at Scale

As your operation moves beyond a proof of concept, you’ll need tools to capture, store, and share your drone data. Our new features make it easy to assign flights, track hundreds of collaborators, and make sense of the data they create. James explored what these new features mean for your team.

“You now have the ability to create and assign map plans to all of your pilots. This means you can delegate flights out, no matter where the pilot is located.” — James Pipe, Product Manager at DroneDeploy

We’ve made it simple to connect your team with collaborative maps and 3D models to explore trends, make measurements, and better understand what’s happening on your job site. Then, export that data into your preferred format or industry tools with the click of a button. It has never been easier to share drone data and generate insights.


James Pipe, Product Manager, explores the new enterprise features available from DroneDeploy

To learn more about these team features, watch the full recording here.

Manage Teams with Admin and Oversight Tools

Growing any team requires the right management tools. That’s why we’ve created our Admin Panel. James took a deep dive into the Admin Panel during the webinar. The Admin Panel keeps all your drone data in one place, making it possible to quickly review data and take action.

“We’ve made it easy to maintain control and get a better idea of what’s happening across your organization. You can now create an entire audit trail of your drone data — giving you the ability to review activity, investigate problems, and take action.” — James Pipe, Product Manager at DroneDeploy

As your team expands, assign user roles and permissions to ensure the right people have access to the right data at the right time. Streamline your workflows by sharing flight plans with pilots, map data with analysts, and insights with key stakeholders.

To learn more about these management features, watch the full recording here.

Keep Your Drone Data Secure

In a world where data breaches are becoming commonplace, security should always be top of mind. James shared the various ways DroneDeploy helps you protect your drone data during the webinar.

We’ve made it possible to control access to individual maps or groups of maps and missions on a need-to-know basis. And you no longer have to be worried about unqualified pilots taking flight. Our user roles and permissions make it easy to ensure only certified pilots fly your jobsite. Last, but not least, you can leverage single sign on to enable DroneDeploy users to sign in through a single, secured company account.

To learn more about these security features, watch the full recording here.

Integrate with Existing Industry Tools

It’s so important that you — and your team — have access to drone data when you need it most, whether that’s on the DroneDeploy platform, in an internal tool, or using third-party industry software that is part of your existing workflow. DroneDeploy allows for all three.


Ian Smith, App Market Lead, shares the latest apps available on the app market

Our platform makes it easy to leverage third-party apps built on top of drone deploy via the industry’s largest app marketplace. Ian took some time to explain how the app market works, and highlighted the newest apps to hit the market in 2017. You can now choose from more than 60 app integrations across 9 different industries.

“We are working with the best solutions in the industry and bringing them into the DroneDeploy ecosystem. Whether you work in construction, surveying, inspection, or even forestry, there’s going to be an app for you.” — Ian Smith, App Market Lead at DroneDeploy

If you’re using proprietary tools, don’t worry. It’s simple to connect to DroneDeploy via our enterprise APIs. You can now extend and amplify DroneDeploy by building custom applications and automated workflows that scale with your business.

To learn more about our App Market and Enterprise APIs, watch the full recording here.

Read Our eBook for More Information


Preparing for Takeoff: The ultimate guide to setting up your drone operation

Thinking of implementing drones at your company? Not sure where to start? Read our free eBook. In this guide, we cover the need-to-know information for getting your drone program off the ground. Get expert advice and answers from leaders in agriculture, construction, surveying, and other industries.

Where To Learn More

  • Watch our on-demand webinar series to learn from industry experts in agriculture, construction, and inspection.
  • Want to learn more about our drone mapping solution for the enterprise? Check out the complete rundown here.
  • Interested in what other ways DroneDeploy can improve your team’s efficiency? Read about our one-click collaboration and management tools.
  • Have questions about any of the latest updates, features, and capabilities?
  • Get in touch with our team for more answers.

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.



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


Share your best map from this month for a chance to win a t-shirt, printed 3D model of your map, and a one year subscription to Airdata UAV’s HD 360 Pro plan.

The holiday season is in full swing, which means it’s the time for giving. That’s why this season we’re excited to announce our holiday mapping contest. Following the success of our Mapsgiving contest, we want to continue the spirit of mapping, and giving. We invite you to participate in 12 Days of Maps, a new holiday tradition here at DroneDeploy.

From December 12–24, we’ll be featuring one special map each day on our social channels. Complete with credits, tags, and links to your page, of course. But, you don’t need to wait until December 12 to share your map. In fact, we want you to start showing your best right now.

So, how do you participate?

1) Share the map you’re most proud of on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram with the shareable link to your map in the description. (Only one map per DroneDeploy account, per household may be submitted.)

2) Tag DroneDeploy

3) Use the hashtag #12DaysofMaps

4) Sit back and enjoy the holiday mapping season

We’ll be selecting one lucky winner — determined by a group vote of DroneDeploy team members — to receive our holiday mapping prize pack consisting of: a DroneDeploy t-shirt, a printed 3D model of your map, and a one-year membership to Airdata UAV’s HD 360 Pro plan (a $165 value!).

What do you need to get started? Your supported DJI drone, supported mobile device, and the latest DroneDeploy app.

Submitted maps must be processed with DroneDeploy within the month of December 2017. So, go fire up that bird and get busy mapping.

(Psst…the first 50 unique submissions will receive a free DroneDeploy t-shirt.)

To access the full terms and conditions of 12 Days of Maps, visit this page.

Where to Learn More

Need some tips for creating a better map? Check out these free resources written by us for mappers like you. We want you to put your best foot (and map) forward.

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.



’Tis the Season for Drone Mapping was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Drones help insurance inspectors improve safety, gather better data, and jumpstart efforts to rebuild an island hard-hit by disaster

When it comes time to assess the damage after a natural disaster like Hurricane Irma, it’s hard to know where to start. On the island of St. Martin—which took a good brunt of the storm—95% of all buildings were damaged. Now claims adjusters must inspect each structure and estimate the cost of repairs before insurance companies can begin to help the island’s residents get back on their feet.

From the ground, this would take months. By using drone maps to assess the structural damage caused by the hurricane, insurance inspectors shortened that process to days — all while improving safety, data collection, and turnaround time for the claims process.

Over a period of just 10 days, Emilien Rose and his team at Dronotec mapped 300 buildings in St. Martin, leveraging DroneDeploy’s powerful cloud processing engine to map 30 buildings per day and jumpstart efforts to rebuild an island hard-hit by the disaster.

After a Natural Disaster, Remote Inspections Make Processing Insurance Claims Faster and Safer

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, GFA Generali, a major insurance company that insures many buildings on St. Martin, approached Dronotec for help. The company needed a way to value the damage as fast as possible, but they faced several challenges.


Dronotec specializes in drone inspections for insurance companies.

Thousands of damaged buildings and lack of electricity and telecommunications made it difficult to coordinate the claims process between the island and the company’s headquarters in France.

Safety was another factor. With collapsing roofs, crumbling facades, and piles of rubble, many buildings on the island were just too dangerous to inspect on foot. But it is critical that loss adjusters gather information about damaged properties before they are torn down and the rubble is removed. The volume of the rubble itself tells an adjuster a lot about the cost of repairing a building.

With all this in mind, Emilien and a team of five drone pilots headed to the island with four DJI Phantom 4 Pro drones and two Mavic Pros.


95% of the buildings on the island were damaged by Hurricane Irma.

Increasing Efficiency by Processing Thousands of Drone Maps in the Cloud

For this project, DroneDeploy was the clear choice for drone mapping software because of the platform’s fast cloud processing capabilities. Being out in the field with limited hardware, processing the maps locally wasn’t feasible; it would have taken up to 10 hours to process a single map on one of the team’s laptops.

With DroneDeploy, they processed an entire day’s worth of maps simultaneously and got the results in less than 24 hours. Then the loss adjusters back in France got access to the critical data almost immediately via DroneDeploy’s user-friendly dashboard.

“If there is no good way to communicate, if there is no one onsite and the insurer is back in France, they don’t have the information they need,” says Emilien of the value added by drone mapping. “We are providing that information to help assess faster and from a distance.”

“Insurance adjusters need something accessible, easy to use and easy to understand. They need to go fast. DroneDeploy provides them a quick response to their needs.” —Emilien Rose, Dronotec

Better Drone Data Improves Collaboration and Minimizes Insurance Risk

As Emilien puts it, “When insurance adjusters receive three hundred missions at the same time, it’s difficult to declutter the disaster.” Not only must adjusters track and monitor each damaged site, but they must communicate that information to other stakeholders, such as property owners and contractors.

https://medium.com/media/60c69ada9dbe69c1096aac444fe94427/href

Drone maps create a common set of data and a clear record of the damage, helping everyone involved stay organized and on the same page throughout the process. DroneDeploy’s annotations feature allows insurance companies to make notes on maps and easily share information with those stakeholders.


Orthomosaic map of damaged properties on St. Martin with annotations. Explore the map

Because each map is geotagged, with a clear record of the exact time, date, and location, an insurer is that much more confident that he is paying for his own claim and not the claim of someone else.

The maps Emilien created gave adjusters a far better set of data than they would have gathered through ground inspection. This is crucial because insurance companies must reserve a certain pool of money during the initial claim, to be paid out once a property is rebuilt.

DroneDeploy’s built-in measurement tool allows adjusters to estimate the volume of masonry rubble and contractors to determine the amount of material needed to repair a damaged roof, all from a safe distance. In cases where a structure is completely wiped away by the hurricane, adjusters can compare pre-storm satellite imagery with post-storm drone maps to verify the existence and location of the old structure.

The more high-quality data adjusters can gather, the less they run the risk of underestimating repair costs. And with over 1.96 billion euros worth of claims on the French side of St. Martin alone, correctly estimating costs becomes all that much more important.

GFA International is just beginning to use drone maps to aid in the insurance adjustment process; the St. Martin project is one of their largest to date. But this experience made one thing clear: drones are the future of insurance inspection.

“This should save time for our network of experts and allow us to show the damage to people not on site. We think that in the future the use of the drones will become systematic.” — Jean-Louis Morant, Chief Operating Officer, GFA International

As for the Dronotec team? They’ve already done so much, but their work is hardly over. When we spoke to Emilien, he had just finished on St. Martin and was headed to the island of St. Barts to map another several hundred properties.

About Dronotec

Emilien Rose founded Dronotec in 2014 following a ten-year career as an insurance adjuster in France and Australia. He saw drones as a powerful tool capable of solving some of the industry’s biggest challenges.
Today, his company uses drones to help insurance companies and loss adjusters around the world save money, reduce risk, and get residents back into their buildings and on with their lives.

Where to Learn More

  • GFA International used DroneDeploy to collaborate and share maps with a large team of pilots and analysts. With our newest set of tools, managing drone data across teams just got a lot easier. Find out how.
  • Dronotec has a long history of using drones to improve the insurance industry. Read how they saved an insurance company nearly €10 million after a large fire.

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.



Leveraging Drones in the Wake of Hurricane Irma was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Announcing DroneDeploy’s holiday mapping contest winner

It’s the time of the year where we all express gratitude and spread holiday cheer. This season, we’re especially grateful for all our mappers. You’ve helped us reach a new and important milestone: mapping over 25 million acres. And your feedback has contributed to some of the newest improvements to our product like 3D & Auto Flight Mode, and improved offline mapping,

We couldn’t be where we are today without you all. And we’d like to say thank you for firing up your birds and flying with us all around the world.

To celebrate, we invited you to participate in our holiday mapping contest, Mapsgiving. We wanted to see who could make the most impressive map over the Thanksgiving holiday.

After more than two dozen submissions and some difficult decision-making, we’re excited to announce the winner of our first contest: Oceans Unmanned, an organization focused on preserving coastal environments. Their map of the California Coastline was crisp, clear, and demonstrated the remarkable capabilities of drone mapping.


Click to view the full resolution map from Oceans Unmanned.

In second place, we have a crystal clear map of Crystal Lake in Montana by Vigilante Drones, a drone service business committed to customer satisfaction.


Click to view the full resolution map by Vigilante Drones.

Third place? We have none other than Northern Illinois Vertical Data’s map of “turkey habitat”, in true spirit of Thanksgiving.


Click to view the full resolution map by Northern Illinois Vertical Data.

If you missed out this round, don’t worry, there will be plenty more contests to come. We’d like to thank everyone who participated in Mapsgiving and we look forward to seeing more of your mapping adventures.

Where to Learn More

We suggest reading some of our latest resources to learn how to improve the overall quality and accuracy of your drone maps. Get a leg up on the competition by honing your skills in preparation for our next mapping competition.

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.



Happy #Mapsgiving! was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Ipiranga Agroindustrial sees 130% ROI using DroneDeploy to automate planting with John Deere tractors

If you put sugar in your coffee this morning, there’s a good chance it started its journey to your cup as a single stalk planted on a sloping, hillside field. Much of the world’s sugarcane is grown in this type of hilly terrain. But mapping out the planting lines for a sloped field is an expensive process.

Replacing traditional ground methods with a drone-based aerial survey improves safety, increases efficiency, and cuts planting costs. Look no farther than Ipiranga Agroindustrial for proof. The Brazil-based company — a leading producer of sugar and ethanol — used drone data to create an accurate contour map of a 300-acre field — tracing the field’s planting lines 75% faster compared to ground methods.

Ipiranga Agroindustrial S/A is one of the largest sugar and ethanol producers in Brazil. Its processing plants are members of Copersucar, Brazil’s leading commercial sugar and ethanol company. Copersucar holds roughly 12% of the world market for free-trade sugar, currently estimated at 58 million tons.

Ipiranga uses DroneDeploy maps on a daily basis for everything from evaluating plant health to drafting altimetry plans, to measuring the volume of sugarcane pulp. The company recently used drone data to trace lines for an autopilot planting project near Sao Paulo.

By collecting data from above, Ipiranga not only improved efficiency by 75%, but they also reduced safety risks posed by collecting data on foot. And they decreased costs related to tractor oil, maintenance, and man-hours in the process.


Representatives from Ipiranga Agroindustrial S/A prepare to launch their DJI Inspire 1 at a sugarcane field near Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Drone-generated Contour Maps are a Faster, Safer Method for Tracing Planting Lines

Sugarcane farmers often trace their planting lines along the contours of a field’s slope to avoid erosion and improve natural irrigation on hillside fields. But the process of mapping these contour lines is labor-intensive, usually taking several days on a tractor. It takes around two days to trace a 300-acre field — tying up valuable machinery and manpower that could be used elsewhere.

As a leading producer of sugarcane, Ipiranga Agroindustrial has a stake in streamlining this process. Earlier this year, they decided to see if drone data could make things easier.

As a test case, the company mapped a 300-acre field near Sao Paulo using a DJI Inspire 1 equipped with a standard RGB camera. After creating a flight plan ahead of time in DroneDeploy, they placed ground control points (GCPs) across the field to ensure the level of global accuracy necessary for creating a contour map with drone data. The drone itself was flown at an altitude of 200 feet, with 70/80 overlap. Four flights, averaging twenty minutes each, brought the total flight time to around eighty minutes.

From start to finish, Ipiranga’s in-house drone operator was in the field for 4 hours, compared to the two days it takes to gather the same data on the ground with a tractor. Drones did the work 75% faster.


Orthomosaic and elevation maps of 300-acre sugarcane field on a hillside near Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“We estimate our return-on-investment with drones is 130%, and it should take only a few months to reach it,” says Ipiranga’s topographer, Edenilson Danezi.

The return-on-investment for drone-based data collection was clear. But was the information accurate enough to meet the company’s needs? Three other drone solutions had already promised accurate data but failed to deliver the quality of information the sugarcane producer needed.


The contour map with planting lines was uploaded into John Deere Autopilot.

DroneDeploy Helps Deliver Higher Quality Data to Growers

After flying the field, the Ipiranga team processed their images in DroneDeploy to create high-resolution orthomosaic and elevation maps, as well as a 3D point cloud. They exported all of the data into AgroCAD, where they created a contour map and planting design. The lines generated from the geo-referenced drone map already had good field precision, so the team only needed to make a few adjustments in places with very sharp curves.

Using the contour map, Ipiranga created a planting plan with rows spaced 1.40 meters apart, then uploaded this information into John Deere Autopilot in preparation for plowing the field.

The result? Just as they had planned, the tractor plowed the field near the coast and belly of the level curve, without displacement. Finally, after three other solutions failed, DroneDeploy delivered accurate results worthy of applying across all of the company’s sugarcane fields.

“DroneDeploy is a reliable tool that meets the needs of our company for surveys, analysis, and more agile decision making.” — Ipiranga’s Agriculture Director, Bernardo Titoto

For those of us who rely on that sugar in our coffee each morning, this is welcome news.

The Value of Partnerships: Bembras Agro

DroneDeploy users hear about the platform from many different sources. But for enterprise companies like Ipiranga Agroindustrial, there is nothing quite as valuable as the guidance of a trusted, local source to help make sense of the ever-changing world of drones. That’s where partners like Bembras Agro come in. After Ipiranga encountered lackluster results with three other drone solutions, they called on the expertise of Bembras, and finally discovered DroneDeploy.

Bembras, a DroneDeploy partner in Brazil, provides their customers with a best-in-class solution that includes DroneDeploy, DJI drones, custom training, insurance, and consulting services. They work closely with some of the country’s largest sugarcane mills, as well as producers of other crops, to educate them about the benefits of drones and help them build out their drone programs. DroneDeploy has worked closely with Bembras to empower Brazilian enterprises in the region to launch and scale out their UAV programs.

“Among all the software we studied, DroneDeploy stood out as the one with better results in a broad spectrum of localities, a wide range of tools, higher accuracy, and an ability to adjust to our needs.” — Johann Coelho, Bembras Agro Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer

Where to Learn More

Ipiranga used Ground Control Points (GCPs) to create a survey-grade map. Using GCPs just got a whole lot easier with DroneDeploy’s new self-serve GCP workflow. Learn more about it here.

Thinking about integrating drones into your enterprise workflow? Learn more about DroneDeploy’s enterprise solution.

Ready to hang up your drone at the end of the harvest? We suggest reconsidering. Here are four ways to harness the power of drones all year long.

If you’re in Brazil and interested in speaking with a member of the Bembras Agro team, you can get in contact here.

Get Started with Drone Deploy

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.



Leading Producer of Sugarcane Traces Planting Lines 75% Faster with Drones was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Putting the world’s largest drone data repository to work for our customers

It’s been a banner year for the commercial drone industry. The FAA certified over 60,000 commercial drone pilots. Large companies launched and scaled drone operations. And DroneDeploy customers mapped more acres than ever before.

You may remember our 10 million acre announcement last March. Well, you’ve been busy since then. Today, we’re pleased to share another milestone with you: 25 Million Acres Mapped.

To share our gratitude, we’re celebrating 25 Million acres of maps by hosting a holiday mapping competition this #MapsGiving weekend. Participate for a chance to win a DJI Phantom 4 Pro.
Learn More

Over the last year, our customers have put DroneDeploy to work mapping more fields, job sites, and structures than the previous 3 years combined. Here’s a look at what that means for our customers and the future of drone mapping.

Our Customers Are Growing

You’re mapping more than ever, and your businesses and in-house drone programs are growing. And we’re growing with you.


Over the last year, DroneDeploy has seen significant growth in enterprise drone adoption

We’re seeing major companies fly fleets of drones to generate aerial insights on demand with DroneDeploy. As your company becomes more reliant on drone data to operate, we’ve introduced some new features to make management, collaboration, and sharing more efficient for teams of any size.

Leading the Industry in Flight


Each month, DroneDeploy helps customers complete more than 40,000 flights and 150,000 miles of flight

Each month our customers complete more than 40,000 flights around the world with DroneDeploy. That’s about 150,000 miles — or 6 trips around the earth — and roughly 4.5 million acres mapped each month.

We recently introduced some exciting new updates like 3D Mode, Obstacle Avoidance, and improved offline operation to help you make better maps. And there’s more in store as we continue to implement your feedback. The more you fly with DroneDeploy, the better the experience will be.

Processing Maps at Scale

People aren’t just flying with DroneDeploy, they’re processing maps too. Our customers are now mapping at scale. Today we process more than 2 million images a week and thousands of maps each day.

To support the increased workload we’ve made improvements to our infrastructure and simplified the map processing workflow. It’s never been easier to process with DroneDeploy.


Mosaic of ground control point data processed with DroneDeploy

Learning from the Data

Drone data is powering every industry from archaeology to agriculture. And we’ve been hard at work learning from your maps. This has translated to some exciting changes to our mapping engine.

We’ve made it easier to map late-stage crops, use ground control points (GCPs) to make survey-grade maps in minutes, organize projects with folders and user permissions, and overlay design plans.

Partnering with the Best in the Business

DroneDeploy is more than just a software program; it’s a platform. We’ve opened up our platform to everyone — making it possible to build apps through our App Market or integrate our software with your favorite industry tools. There are already more than 60 integrations available.


DroneDeploy’s ecosystem includes industry leaders in hardware, software, insurance and training

We’ve also teamed up with some of the biggest names in the industry to help you scale operations. We’ll help you train your team, hire pilots, get insurance, and find the best hardware.

Looking Ahead and Sharing Our Gratitude

So, what’s next? We’re on a mission to make drone data accessible and productive for everyone. This is just the beginning. We see a future where there is a drone on every job site.

We’ll be using all this mapping data to further simplify your workflows as we explore new ways to flex our machine learning muscle and improve our computer vision technology. We’ll also keep partnering with fellow industry leaders to provide the best possible solution for drone mapping. It’s safe to say the next 25 million acres holds a lot of improvements — and even few surprises — for our customers.

In the meantime, we’d like to say Thank You to our customers. Thanks for selecting DroneDeploy as your platform of choice, making us the most popular flight app in the industry, and processing more than 25 million acres of maps around the world.

Where to Learn More

  • Want to learn more about our drone mapping solution for the enterprise? Check out the complete rundown here.
  • Explore our latest improvements to our flight app here.
  • Interested in what other ways DroneDeploy can improve your team’s efficiency? Read about our one-click collaboration and management tools.
  • Read more about extending DroneDeploy with custom applications and enterprise APIs here.
  • Have questions about any of the latest updates, features, and capabilities? Get in touch with our team for answers.

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.



25 Million Acres and Counting was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Get the most out of your first mapping mission with these best practices

So, you’ve purchased your DJI drone, downloaded the DroneDeploy mobile app, and now you’re ready to make your very first drone map. Before you get out there and fly a field or site, we want to make sure you’re set up for success.

Whether you’re a specialist who wants to use drones to increase the efficiency on the job, or a drone service provider looking to expand the range of your business, this post will help you improve the quality of your drone map with some best practices to follow during your first flight.

Here are our top 10 tips for success on your first flight with DroneDeploy:

Fly High

During your first flight, consider flying at an altitude between 300–400 feet above ground level (AGL). Flying at a higher altitude gives the camera more land area to cover in a single image. This translates to greater chances of capturing any unique features that are present in multiple photos. This is important during the processing stage (learn more about why here) and also helps when mapping any areas with homogeneous imagery, such as tree canopies or agricultural areas.

Flying higher is the single most powerful way to improve the quality of a processed map. Remember: Altitude is your friend.

Fly on an Overcast Day (or When the Sun is Directly Overhead)

It’s always important to check the weather before you fly. But don’t get dismayed if you see an overcast day in the forecast. Flying when the sky is overcast allows you use the clouds as a light diffuser by filtering the natural sunlight. Light diffusers are common in professional photography because they provide soft, even lighting on your subject. And you can mimic this technique with drone mapping on an overcast day. Filtered light can greatly reduce shadows, blurriness, and glare from reflective surfaces — all of which will improve your map or 3D model after it’s been processed.

We also recommend trying to fly between the hours of 10 AM-2 PM, when the sun is overhead. This results in less shadows in photographs, which— as we mentioned—helps during processing. You also want to avoid partly cloudy days and high winds, both of which can make it difficult to capture quality images for your maps.


Avoid cloudy and windy conditions, and fly from 10–2 for best results

Increase Overlap

Increasing the overlap for a flight is another way to create more matched points across individual images during the stitching process. Overlap refers to the percentage of both sidelap and frontlap. Sidelap is the percentage of overlap between each leg of a flight, while frontlap refers to the percentage of overlap between one image and the next. DroneDeploy’s default overlap is set at 60/70 in order to find a balance between accuracy and large image quantity. Many drone operators adjust the overlap depending on the needs of a particular project, striking a balance dependent on the project’s requirements and desired outputs.


Overlap settings visualized

Check (and Doublecheck) Your Camera Settings

The DroneDeploy app is designed to capture camera imagery at its absolute best quality. However, ultimately image quality can be determined by a wide range of factors. So, we always recommend you check the quality of any individual photos captured as the drone is performing the mission flight.

For those who are more experienced with photography, clicking the Automatic Camera Settings toggle button off you can manually adjust your camera settings in the DJI Go App. This allows you to adjust camera settings such as shutter speed, white balance, and ISO manually, which can sometimes lead to crisper, more consistent images for your maps.


Turn off automatic camera settings to make manually adjustments in the DJI Go app

Learn more about improving the quality of your drone maps by adjusting manual settings in this post.

Update to the Latest DJI Firmware

Before you go out and fly any mission, it’s always important to make sure that your drone hardware is up to date and has the latest firmware installed. Firmware updates are issued for all DJI drones fixes any reported issues and ensures DJI’s products continue to provide information and features to support safe flight. Learn more about updating your drone’s firmware in our Zero to Hero video series. Keep in mind that when you are updating the firmware it’s best to remove the props from the drone beforehand.

Use a Recommended Mobile Device When Flying

While the DroneDeploy flight app works on many iOS and Android devices, some devices are going to provide better performance, user experience, and security. This is because computing power, memory, and other hardware factors play a role in operating DroneDeploy’s software during flight. In general, we recommend newer devices for the best experience. We also provide a list of supported and recommended devices in our support documents.

Pack the Right Gear and Inspect it Before Your Flight

Before heading out to the site, you’ll want to be sure you have all the right gear packed — and that it’s in working condition. The last thing you want is to get into the field and realize you left your SD card or connection cable back at home, or in the office. Here are some hardware tips to keep in mind before you go out to make your first map:

  • Check the usb cable between your remote and mobile device in advance to make sure it is in good operating condition
  • Keep a few backup Micro SD cards in the drone carrying case in the chance you forget to pack one before the mission
  • Inspect the drone for any types of cracks between mounting points
  • Make sure the props are in good condition and not chipped in any way
  • Consider bringing an extra battery (or two) in case you’re in the field longer than expected

Use AirMap to check airspace before your mission

Leverage Flight Planning Apps in the App Market

There are a host of apps in the DroneDeploy App Market that can help with flight planning and optimization. And they can be easily be installed via the app dashboard on your mobile device or desktop.

We always recommend checking airspace before you fly with apps like AirMap and Flyte. Make sure that you’re operating in a legal airspace, and no flight restrictions or notices to airmen (NOTAM) are in place. You can also check the FAA website for the latest updates to airspace.

Some of our other top app recommendations can be found here.

Fly in 3D Mode to Make Better Models

While making great 3D models has always been part art and part science, we’re trying hard to automate the process by putting our drone database to good use. That’s why we recently released our new 3D Mode. 3D Mode is currently part of DroneDeploy Labs, where we release some of our newest beta features for testing, and is available under the “Settings” tab in the DroneDeploy dashboard. It’s the go-to place for the latest innovations in drone mapping.


Enable 3D Flight Mode in the Advanced Settings tab during your next 3D mapping mission

In 3D Mode, your drone will fly along the perimeter of your flight plan and take a predefined set of oblique images — photos pointed inwards toward the center of the mapping area — resulting in a better data set for producing 3D models.

Update to the Latest Version of the DroneDeploy Mobile Flight App

Last, but certainly not least, we always recommend flying with the latest version of the DroneDeploy mobile app. We frequently update our app to give you with the best flight experience possible. Our updates also provide support for new hardware, and fix any known issues you might encounter. So, before you head out to the field, check to see if you’ve got the latest version of the app installed by stopping by the iOS App Store or the Android Play Store.

Where to Learn More

If you are new to drones, and especially drone mapping, our Zero to Hero video series is a good place to start. Here, you’ll get advice on everything from unboxing your drone, to engaging in advanced flight planning.

Our support documents cover a wide range of topics for beginners including FAQs, getting started with DroneDeploy, and more.

Remember, if you’re flying commercially you need to get certified by the FAA first. For information on obtaining your Part 107 certification, check out commercial helicopter and drone pilot Ian Smith’s post outlining the process.

Interested in discovering more tools to simplify your workflow? Explore all the apps available to you on the DroneDeploy App Market.

Want to learn more about making good drone maps? Read some of our other blog resources to get a better understanding of the concepts at work, along with best practices:

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.



10 Tips for Making Your First Map with DroneDeploy was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Improve your drone program by creating custom apps and leveraging our APIs to get the most out of your aerial data

Integrating your operations into existing enterprise workflows is often the fail or fly moment for any new project. Aerial insights from drone imagery are no exception. It’s so important that you — and your team — have access drone data when you need it most, whether that’s on the DroneDeploy platform, in an internal tool, or using third-party industry software that is part of your existing workflow.

That’s why we’ve made our platform APIs available to enterprise customers. You can now extend and amplify DroneDeploy by building custom applications and automated workflows that scale with your business.

Expand DroneDeploy with Private Apps for Your Team

You’re probably familiar with our App Market, which launched last year. It’s since grown to be the industry’s largest drone data platform, with more than 60 public apps available across 9 different industries.

What you may not know, is that our open APIs allow you to build custom, private apps for your team right on top of our intuitive user interface—and deploy them through the App Market.

Why reinvent the wheel when you can leverage our platform to deploy custom apps for flight, analysis, and reporting within your organization?

Here are some examples of how you can use our private app APIs to streamline workflows, improve collaboration, and increase efficiency.

Customize Flight Settings


Quickly generate flight settings based on site location

If you’re consistently flying the same sites to document progress or track changes over time, you’re probably flying with similar flight settings (altitude, overlap, etc). Why not make it simpler to repeat flight plans instantly based on site location?

With our APIs, you’re able to build and deploy a flight app that generates custom settings based on common locations. This makes flight planning simple, repeatable, scalable, and ultimately reduces the chance of error along the way.

Improve Safety with Pre-Flight Checklists

Safety is a priority for DroneDeploy customers in every industry. And FAA compliance is always top of mind in growing drone programs. What if you could make custom safety checklists part of the flight process directly in the DroneDeploy interface? With our APIs, custom safety checklist apps can be a requirement for every flight. This reduces the chances of equipment and personnel being put in danger.


With our APIs, custom safety checklist apps can be a requirement for every flight

Generate Custom Reports

Reporting is necessary for any large company to operate. Ans our publicly available report apps are some of the most popular apps on our App Market today. But larger companies often need custom reports that support their specific workflows to get the job done.

Maybe you want a 2D orthomosaic map and 3D model each time you make a map? Or perhaps you need to share stockpile volumes or site progress updates with your team after each flight? Our APIs make it possible to do just this with a private app for your team.


An example of an automatic site progress report generated using DroneDeploy’s Enterprise APIs

Private apps can make your workflows simpler and more efficient. And they’re just one of the ways you can put our APIs to work to get more out of DroneDeploy and make your drone operation more effective.

Automate Your Workflows by Syncing and Exporting Drone Data

While private apps can improve workflows for your team, you may be able to further increase efficiency by automating tasks entirely. Our APIs make it possible to do just that. Here are some ways you can put them to use to eliminate tasks that previously required human interaction. This can speed up your workflow, reduce the chances of error, and ensure your data is always right where you need it.

Backup Drone Data to Your System of Record

If your company is like most enterprises, you’ve got an internal system of record to store all your data and assets. Our APIs make it simple to automatically backup all the drone data you collect and process on our platform. This means the second you produce a map of your jobsite, field, or project it can be synced to your company’s Box, Egnyte, Dropbox, or Microsoft Sharepoint account.


DroneDeploy’s APIs can automatically back up data to your system of record

Export Data to Industry-Leading Software

Like many pros, you likely rely on external software to get things done. If you’re in the Ag industry, you might use John Deere or Case IH software to assist with crop management. If you’re in construction, you might rely on tools like AutoDesk or AutoCAD. If you’re in surveying, you probably use ArcGIS. With our APIs, it’s easy to export mapping data into industry tools so you can do things like integrate drone maps as base layers, or share 3D models with design programs to assist your workflow.


Export data to industry-leading tools like AutoCAD, AutoDesk, and ArcGIS.

Build a Custom UI to Display Maps and Measurements

Many companies have built proprietary internal software tools to power their unique workflows. Our customers have already built custom javascript applications and augmented data inside SalesForce with DroneDeploy maps and measurements. . This is possible for all our enterprise customers via our comprehensive suite of APIs.

Create Flight Plans from Data Instantly

What if you could automate flight planning by exporting location data to DroneDeploy? Our newest API makes this possible. Just share geolocation data and we’ll automatically create a flight plan to fly your structure, field, or jobsite.

Lean on DroneDeploy for as your Map Processing Engine

You may be collecting drone data through an existing process, have years of past data which needs processing, or even wish to white label the map processing process under your own brand.

Have no fear. DroneDeploy is still be the right tool for you. If you’d like to whitelabel our solution and handle image uploading and map display through your own internal interface, we can help.

While most customers upload drone data to process through our web interface, DroneDeploy also supports fully automated image transfer and back-end processing services. Our simple to use Map Processing API accepts secure links to image sets and will download and process them into high quality 3D maps, generating your desired set of export data automatically. These are then all available for you to download or query via our APIs.

So let DroneDeploy manage processing and image stitching in the cloud. This means you won’t have to host your own servers, and can benefit from our cloud network. You’ll also eliminate the need to hire an in-house engineering team to manage processing and machines — saving you time and money. So you can focus on what matters most: using drone data to fuel better business decisions.

Where To Learn More

If you’re an enterprise customer and ready to explore all that our APIs have to offer, you can get started by reading more in our Support Documents.

Want to learn more about our drone mapping solution for the enterprise? Check out the complete rundown here.

Interested in what other ways DroneDeploy can improve your team’s efficiency? Read about our one-click collaboration and management tools.
Get Started with DroneDeploy

Have questions about any of the latest updates, features, and capabilities?
Get in touch with our team for more answers.

Start Using 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.



Extending the Power of DroneDeploy with Custom Applications and Enterprise APIs was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Obstacle avoidance, improved offline flight, support for the latest DJI drones, and new flight modes just released

Over the last year, DroneDeploy has helped customers capture, process, and analyze more than 40 million aerial images. If that sounds like a lot of data, that’s because it is. Now we’re leveraging the largest drone database on the planet to improve your flight experience in the field and on the jobsite.

Leading the Industry in Drone Flight

We have seen a lot of growth in 2017. Each month, DroneDeploy helps customers fly more than 40,000 flights over 150,000 miles — or about 6 trips around the earth.


Each month, DroneDeploy helps customers fly more than 40,000 flights and 150,000 miles — or about 6 trips around the earth.

Along the way, we’ve gained a better understanding of your mission planning needs. Whether you’ve made 3D models of structures, worked in areas without cell coverage, or tried to avoid obstacles in the field, we’ve learned from you. We know what it takes to make great maps, and those learnings are making their way into our product. We’re excited to share many of them with you today.

Increase Safety in the Field

When you’re in the field, safety is paramount. That’s why we’ve worked with DJI to make support obstacle avoidance during every flight with drone platforms featuring onboard sensor hardware, including: Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Series, and Inspire 2 drones.


Access Obstacle Avoidance when planning your next flight, or make it the default setting in DroneDeploy Labs.

Obstacle avoidance is now enabled by default when you plan any flight with the DroneDeploy mobile app. And if you don’t need it, simply flip the toggle to turn off the feature when you’re creating your flight plan. You can also disable obstacle avoidance by default with a setting in DroneDeploy Labs.

See, Adapt, and Create Flight Plans in Remote Areas

Many of our customers are mapping in some of the most remote areas across the planet. As drones have become the go-to means for aerial data collection in the forestry, agriculture, and mining industries, we’ve seen more than 10% of drone flights take off without internet connectivity.

For those of you mapping in remote areas, you will be pleased to hear that you can now see, adapt, and create new flight plans while completely disconnected from the internet.


Make up to 10 flight plans and map base tiles available offline on your mobile device when creating a flight plan with DroneDeploy.

The latest update makes it possible to sync up to 10 flight plans and base map tiles to your mobile device for offline use in the field. Just flip the offline toggle to download plans and base maps to your device.

This means you’re no longer limited to plans created in the office or at home. Should you need to deviate from your initial plans while in the field, you can with DroneDeploy.

Make Drone Maps in the Harshest Environments

Inspection, search & rescue, and construction often require drones to fly in harsh environments. From bad weather to dusty work sites, you shouldn’t be limited when your job is on the line. That’s where DJI’s Matrice 200 Series comes in. Built to thrive in the toughest places, it makes mapping possible in extreme cold, wind, dust, and even rain.


DroneDeploy now supports the M200 Series from DJI. Photo courtesy of DJI.

We’re proud to announce that DroneDeploy now supports mapping with the DJI M200 series on iOS. If you need to map in tough environments, we’ve got you covered.

Access the Newest Flight Capabilities in DroneDeploy Labs

If you haven’t stepped into DroneDeploy Labs to take a look at our latest experimental features, you might want to consider it. DroneDeploy Labs is where we release some of our newest beta features for testing, and is available under the “Settings” tab in the DroneDeploy dashboard. It’s the go-to place for the latest innovations in drone mapping.

This month, we’re excited to share our newest flight capabilities: 3D Mode and Auto Flight Mode

3D Mode

When you’re presenting to clients or comparing structures to design plans, you need to be able to produce crisp, accurate 3D point clouds and models. While making great 3D models has always been part art and part science, we’re trying hard to automate the process by putting our drone database to good use.

In 3D Mode, your drone will fly along the perimeter of your flight plan and take a predefined set of oblique images — photos pointed inwards toward the center of the mapping area. Enable 3D Mode under “Advanced” settings when planning your next flight.


Turn 3D mode on in the Advanced Settings menu when planning a flight.

So far, the results have been exciting. Below you can see a recent map made by our team. The 3D model was made by collecting just 40 photos while in 3D Mode.


This high definition 3D model was made using just 40 images collected while in the new 3D Mode.

We’ll be adjusting our algorithms this fall based on user feedback before the new capability moves out of beta. In the meantime, we encourage you to give it a try. So get out there and let us know what you think.

Auto Flight Modes

We often hear that customers want a more scientific method to choose overlap when mapping with DroneDeploy. The latest app from DroneDeploy Labs automatically calculates overlap based on data from over 100,000 maps. All you need to do enter the height of the buildings or trees in your mapping area, and select the appropriate scene, such as field, varied terrain, or man-made structure.

In addition, some of our customers flying more complex 3D environments have requested the ability to fly a “double grid” or “crosshatch” flight plan, and to be able to set the gimbal angle before the flight.

These capabilities are now available in DroneDeploy thanks to the new Auto Flight Modes app — another beta product from DroneDeploy Labs. If you’d like to try this for your next mission, install Auto Flight Modes now from the DroneDeploy App Market.


Auto Flight Modes is now available on the DroneDeploy App Market.

Where to Learn More

Read more about some of our recent product updates and releases including:

Have questions about any of the latest updates, features, and capabilities? Get in touch with our team for more answers.

Start Using 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.



Flying with DroneDeploy Just Got Even Better was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Administer hundreds of users and keep your team connected with one-click management and collaboration tools

The ability to quickly process, manage, and share drone data anywhere — on any device — is one of the key benefits to using a cloud platform like DroneDeploy.

We’re willing to bet you’re not the only one who will use drone data in your company. That’s why we’ve made it simple to share the aerial data you collect, process, and analyze with DroneDeploy.

Today we’re going to look at the newest tools available on the DroneDeploy platform and discuss how you put them to use for better collaboration with the pilots, analysts, and decision makers on your team.

Keep Your Team Organized with Folders

You no longer need to scroll through hundreds of maps to find the one you’re looking for — instead you can sort them into folders for easy navigation. Create a folder, and add maps to it. It’s that simple.


Folders make organization and navigation easy

Not only do folders make it easier to navigate maps and stay organized, but they also make sharing projects and plans easier too.

Let’s say you have a construction site that you’re mapping multiple times a week. You probably want to share those maps with your team or client, right?.

Now you can create a folder for that site and share it with the project team. Then each map made made of that site is housed in the folder. Once you do this, the whole team automatically gets access — without the need to individually share each map with your team. This saves time and makes collaboration simple across projects.

Folders can also be used to organize your workflows more effectively. If you work in insurance, you’re likely flying a different site for each claim. And organizing by workflow makes the most sense. Maybe you would have a folder for the stage where the inspector plans the flight — then your drone program coordinator might review it — before delegating it to pilots, QA, or other team members.

Check out a short demo of folders below. Folders are now available to all DroneDeploy customers.

https://medium.com/media/1575255dcaf5885d7dd22d6f9e77c0f5/href

DroneDeploy’s New Admin Panel Simplifies Team Management


DroneDeploy’s Admin Panel makes team management simple

As more people become involved in your drone operation and generate more data, managing those people becomes a bigger challenge. It can be tough to keep track of your pilots—and the mapping data they create.

Large organizations need to keep track of the data they are generating, as well as safety issues and data breaches. That’s why we created our new Admin Panel.


DroneDeploy’s new Admin Panel

Manage Security Settings

Using the Admin Panel, you can add and remove users from your account, manage permissions, and require Single Sign On (SSO) to keep your data secure. Who’s authorized to fly? Who should have edit access or view-only access? This new tool makes it easy to assign permissions, so you can be sure your data is safe, and shared with the right people.

Keep Track of Important Account Activity

Our new tool makes it simple to keep track of any activity that takes place on your account. Who’s flying? When did they collect data? Who’s uploading and analyzing that data? Now you have all the answers right at your fingertips. You’re able to see when new data is created, or deleted.

Maintain Visibility Across Your Organization

What good is data if you can’t access it quickly? The Admin panel gives you instant visibility into your company’s mapping data. It’s never been easier to quickly scan all of your flight plans and maps — and see who has access to the data.

These rollouts make it easy to track hundreds of pilots and collaborators at a glance — seeing where they have flown, the routes they have mapped, and the data they have gathered and analyzed. Check out the Admin Panel in action below.

The Admin Panel becomes available for all DroneDeploy Business and Enterprise customers starting the week of November 6th, 2017.

https://medium.com/media/e31f43aa70e7bf0ade637d43d06763db/href

Share Maps, Models, and Annotations Externally with One-Click Public Sharing

In addition to folders, we’ve also made it easy to share individual maps with just a single click.

Now you can share a complete view-only map with a client, external partner, or someone else who does not have a DroneDeploy account. Simply click the “Share” button, copy the link, and share it with whomever you choose.

Before, a client that clicked a link to view a shared map would see only the specific map layer shared with them. To see the complete map, the client would need to create and login to a DroneDeploy account.

Now sharing a map via link will give the viewer complete view-only access to the map, including the ability to:

  • See the satellite base layer
  • Explore all layers of the map, including the 2D orthomosaic, 3D model, elevation map, and plant health
  • View any annotations or measurements on the map
  • View and toggle any overlays attached to the map
  • View and export any existing exports that the map owner has already generated

Did you know that you can include your company’s logo on any map you share with a client? Check out our support center to learn more about this and other sharing options or give us feedback on the forum.

Public sharing is now available to all DroneDeploy customers.

Where to Learn More

Read more about some of our recent product updates and releases including:

Have questions about any of the latest updates, features, and capabilities?
Get in touch with our team for more answers.

Start Using 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.



Manage Drone Data Across Teams with DroneDeploy’s Collaboration and Admin Tools was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.