Minimize risk and create a safe environment for your drone program to thrive with these tips

There is a lot on the line with incorporating drones into the workplace. Being aware and accepting that risk is part of managing and scaling any drone program. You’ll need to take the necessary steps to ensure you are minimizing that risk and doing everything to support a safe environment for the program to thrive.

Let’s explore some of the ways you can reduce risk and create a safe operation for everyone involved.

Take a Safety-First Approach

Safety isn’t just a concept; it’s a philosophy. A safe operation starts at the top with the leader of your drone program and trickles down. As you begin establishing your program guidelines, safety should always be top of mind.

Safety is all about establishing protocols to reduce risk and making sure employees adhere to them on the job. When something goes wrong, it can damage your company’s reputation, cost you business, increase operating costs, and slow down your ability to grow.

Educate Employees About Potential Risk

It’s essential that members of your team understand what risks are on the table. Without comprehension of what can go wrong, there will be less incentive to stick with the guidelines.

We recommend you start by educating your team about the risks — making everyone accountable for the safety and success of the drone program. Consider enrolling in training program, such as DARTdrones.

Leverage Tools for Checking Airspace

One of the tenants of being a responsible pilot is always checking your airspace before flying. Temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) can change at a moment’s notice, and your team needs to be sure flights are compliant with FAA regulations at all times.

We recommend developing an internal protocol or system for checking airspace authorization before each flight. This system will help keep everyone accountable and reduce chances of flying in restricted airspace, or without the proper FAA flight waivers required for the job. Tools like Airmap, Skyward, and Flyte make this process simpler and are available in the DroneDeploy App Market.

Reduce Risk with Flight Automation

Flying a drone can be challenging, especially when you’re first getting started. On a job site there are dozens — even hundreds — of potential obstacles ranging from structures to weather, and everything in between. By automating drone flights, you can help reduce the risk of something going wrong, such as a collision that injures a person or damages equipment. Of course, always maintain visual line of sight (VLOS) with the drone at all times, and be ready to take control should something happen. Learn more here.

Flight automation with DroneDeploy allows you to set all of your flight parameters (speed, altitude, etc.) when you plan a flight. DroneDeploy makes it easier to avoid obstacles you know exist while following best mapping practices to produce higher-quality maps and models.

“We like using the automated systems because it opens up less opportunity for risk. I know the tower cranes aren’t going to get any taller. I know the buildings aren’t going to get any taller than the tower cranes. So with relative confidence, I can walk out every week and do all three flights on the same SD card.” –Ryan Moret, McCarthy Building Companies

Create Pre-Flight, Post-Flight Checklists


Create a pre-flight check app for your team with our enterprise APIs.

Defining a consistent set of pre and post-flight procedures will increase safety and reduce chances of something going wrong in the field. It’s important to conduct pre and post-flight safety checks every time you take to the skies. A useful checklist is simple, repeatable, and will address the mission, job site, flight crew, and environment. Learn more about making a good checklist in our eBook, Preparing for Takeoff.

Develop Emergency Procedures

You create safety procedures intending to avoid disaster. But sometimes disaster strikes. If it does, you and your team need to be ready to react appropriately. You should always establish an emergency procedure should something go wrong. It can be difficult to think straight in a stressful situation, and having a set of clear guidelines to follow makes things more manageable for the pilot, observer, and anyone else on the ground. Emergency protocols increase your team’s chances of efficiently responding, without forgetting any important steps along the way.

Establish a System of Record for Tracking Pilots, Flight Logs, and Missions

Good record keeping is critical to any department. And drone data is no different. You will need to develop a system for storing all mission information. Records are necessary should anything go wrong during or after the mission. You may have to complete a retroactive analysis or provide detailed information to other departments in the company such as legal or risk management. Learn about software tools for managing drone data in our eBook, Preparing for Takeoff.


Use the DroneDeploy Admin Panel to manage your drone data. Our Data Viewer makes it simple to view, track, store, and organize your drone data.

Where to Learn More

  • Learn more about minimizing risk through insurance, training, and maintenance in our eBook, Preparing for Takeoff.
  • Read more about the ways drones are improving safety on the job site here.
  • Just getting your drone operation off the ground? Read our lessons learned from helping companies large and small get their drone programs started here.
  • Learn how drones surveys of an aggregate quarry are safer — and 20x faster — thanks to drones in this post.

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.



7 Ways to Manage Risk in Your Drone Program was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Tips for buying, storing, and maintaining your drone batteries

Batteries have come a long way in a short time. If you’re new to drones, chances are you’ve got a few questions about batteries. How many do I need? How do I store them? Do they require maintenance?

Today’s drones run on lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries, and require management to ensure safe flight and storage. The logistics of transporting, storing, tracking, and replacing your fleet’s batteries can prove to be a challenge for a growing team. And batteries are often overlooked by program coordinators just getting started. The cost of purchasing, maintaining, and replacing batteries is something you’ll want to consider from the start.

Here are some battery tips and best practices to help you set-up and scale your drone operation.

This is the second installment in our two-part series on drone maintenance. If you missed part 1, read it here.


Image courtesy of DJI. Purchase batteries for your DJI drone via the DJI Online Store.

Buying Drone Batteries

Each drone usually comes with 1–2 batteries at the time of purchase. However, we recommend you buy additional batteries to meet the flight demands of your industry and projects. For reference, each manufacturer lists flight time for drone models in the hardware specifications.

Some jobs may require multiple flights to map large areas, which means additional batteries are needed. We recommend purchasing a minimum of 4–6 batteries for each drone in your fleet. Having 4–6 batteries per drone translates into 2+ hours of flight time in the field.

Keep in mind external factors such as temperature and wind can affect flight time and should be taken into consideration when planning a mission.

Storing Drone Batteries

So, you have purchased your drone batteries, but how do you charge and store them safely?

Here are some tips to avoid potential issues such as a fire in your office:

  • Store batteries in a cool, dry place away from flammable objects or liquids
  • Don’t overcharge batteries, leave batteries charging overnight, or without observation
  • Keep batteries in a room that has a functional smoke detector, fire extinguisher, or sprinkler system should a fire occur
  • When traveling, keep your batteries safely nestled in a travel case. If you’re traveling by plane, check with your airline beforehand for the latest policy. Drones and batteries are allowed on planes in accordance with TSA guidelines. Lithium-ion batteries must remain under 100 watts and be stored in carry-on luggage.

Maintaining Drone Batteries

Batteries, like the drones themselves, require maintenance over time to ensure they are in proper working condition. Before and after each flight batteries should be inspected for signs of damage. If batteries suffer from any damage, they should be disposed of properly and replaced.

Use the AirData UAV Sync App available in DroneDeploy’s App Market to understand your battery health. Detect deviations in battery cells that could lead to issues down the line, and gain insight into when you should consider retiring and disposing of a battery.


AirData UAV Sync can detect deviations in your battery health. Learn more here.

Batteries should also undergo testing and diagnostics throughout their lifecycle. There are a variety of tools that can analyze battery data to provide you with insights into battery health. Using these tools, you can take a look “under the hood” and get a better idea of when it may be time to replace your fleet’s batteries.

Where to Learn More

  • Interested in getting more information on fleet maintenance and repairs? Check out our free eBook to learn more about drone repair and battery maintenance.

Read our ultimate guide to setting up your in-house drone operation.
  • Read part one in this blog series to learn more about drone repair.
  • Just getting your in-house drone program started? Read this post and learn 5 tips to get your operation off the ground.
  • New to drone mapping? Read these 10 tips for success during your first flight with DroneDeploy.
  • Print off our pre-flight checklist to make sure you never miss a thing during your next pre-flight inspection.

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.



The Art of Drone Maintenance and Repair Part 2 was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Minimize risk and create a safe environment for your drone program to thrive with these tips

There is a lot on the line with incorporating drones into the workplace. Being aware and accepting that risk is part of managing and scaling any drone program. You’ll need to take the necessary steps to ensure you are minimizing that risk and doing everything to support a safe environment for the program to thrive.

Let’s explore some of the ways you can reduce risk and create a safe operation for everyone involved.

Take a Safety-First Approach

Safety isn’t just a concept — it’s a philosophy. A safe operation starts at the top with the leader of your drone program and trickles down. As you begin establishing your program guidelines, safety should always be top of mind.

Safety is all about establishing protocols to reduce risk and making sure employees adhere to them on the job. When something goes wrong, it can damage your company’s reputation, cost you business, increase operating costs, and slow down your ability to grow.

Educate Employees About Potential Risk

It’s essential that members of your team understand what risks are on the table. Without comprehension of what can go wrong, there will be less incentive to stick with the guidelines.

We recommend you start by educating your team about the risks — making everyone accountable for the safety and success of the drone program. Consider enrolling in training program, such as DARTdrones.

Leverage Tools for Checking Airspace

One of the tenants of being a responsible pilot is always checking your airspace before flying. Temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) can change at a moment’s notice, and your team needs to be sure flights are compliant with FAA regulations at all times.

We recommend developing an internal protocol or system for checking airspace authorization before each flight. This system will help keep everyone accountable and reduce chances of flying in restricted airspace, or without the proper FAA flight waivers required for the job. Tools like Airmap, Skyward, and Flyte make this process simpler and are available in the DroneDeploy App Market.

Reduce Risk with Flight Automation

Flying a drone can be challenging—especially when you’re first getting started. On a job site there are dozens — even hundreds — of potential obstacles ranging from structures to weather, and everything in between. By automating drone flights, you can help reduce the risk of something going wrong, such as a collision that injures a person or damages equipment.

Flight automation with DroneDeploy allows you to set all of your flight parameters (speed, altitude, etc.) when you plan a flight. DroneDeploy makes it easier to avoid obstacles you know exist while following best mapping practices to produce higher-quality maps and models.

“We like using the automated systems because it opens up less opportunity for risk. I know the tower cranes aren’t going to get any taller. I know the buildings aren’t going to get any taller than the tower cranes. So with relative confidence, I can walk out every week and do all three flights on the same SD card.” –Ryan Moret, McCarthy Building Companies

Create Pre-Flight, Post-Flight Checklists

Defining a consistent set of pre and post-flight procedures will increase safety and reduce chances of something going wrong in the field. It’s important to conduct pre and post-flight safety checks every time you take to the skies. A useful checklist is simple, repeatable, and will address the mission, job site, flight crew, and environment. Learn more about making a good checklist in our eBook, Preparing for Takeoff.

Develop Emergency Procedures

You create safety procedures intending to avoid disaster. But sometimes disaster strikes. If it does, you and your team need to be ready to react appropriately. You should always establish an emergency procedure should something go wrong. It can be difficult to think straight in a stressful situation, and having a set of clear guidelines to follow makes things more manageable for the pilot, observer, and anyone else on the ground. Emergency protocols increase your team’s chances of efficiently responding — without forgetting any important steps along the way.

Establish a System of Record for Tracking Pilots, Flight Logs, and Missions

Good record keeping is critical to any department — drone data is no different. You will need to develop a system for storing all mission information. Records are necessary should anything go wrong during or after the mission. You may have to complete a retroactive analysis or provide detailed information to other departments in the company such as legal or risk management. Learn about software tools for managing drone data in our eBook, Preparing for Takeoff.


Use the DroneDeploy Admin Panel to manage your drone data. Our Data Viewer makes it simple to view, track, store, and organize your drone data.

Where to Learn More

  • Learn more about minimizing risk through insurance, training, and maintenance in our eBook, Preparing for Takeoff.
  • Read more about the ways drones are improving safety on the job site here.
  • Just getting your drone operation off the ground? Read our lessons learned from helping companies large and small get their drone programs started here.
  • Learn how drones surveys of an aggregate quarry are safer — and 20x faster — thanks to drones in this post.

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.



7 Ways to Manage Risk in Your Drone Operation was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Part 107, Airspace Authorizations, and FAA Compliance

You just bought a drone. And now you’re ready to put it to work.

Not too fast. Before flying a drone commercially, you must first become certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Luckily, there is a clear path that every person or company can follow, and it’s laid out in the FAA’s Part 107 Rule. All drone operators must follow Part 107 if they plan to use their drone to make money.

Let’s break down what this means for you and any member of your company who wants to become a commercial drone operator.

What Is the Part 107 Rule?

“Part 107” refers to Part 107 of Chapter 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations published by the FAA. This rule provides a regulatory framework that every drone pilot must follow in order to commercially fly an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone. This rule includes operational limitations, pilot responsibilities, and aircraft requirements.

What Does Part 107 Mean For Commercial Businesses?

Under Part 107, every commercial drone operator in your company will need to be certified by the FAA before they fly over a job site, mine, farm, or other commercial property. You’re also required to remain compliant with Part 107 regulations at all times (more on this below).

Getting Part 107 Certified

Getting your Part 107 certification is pretty straightforward. Follow these three steps to obtain Part 107 Certification and get the green light to operate commercially:

Training for the Part 107 Knowledge Test

Like any test, you will need to study for the Part 107 knowledge exam. There are a variety of training courses online to choose from, but we’ve narrowed down some trusted resources to consider below:

DARTdrones

DARTdrones offers a comprehensive online prep course for Part 107. Built by top U.S. military pilots for busy professionals with little-to-no drone experience, this is serious Part 107 exam preparation for a team of any size.

Remote Pilot 101

Remote Pilot 101 is an online Part 107 training course. Designed by a lifelong pilot and author, this 10 video course is another option for training to pass the Part 107 Certification exam.

FAA Compliance

After passing the Part 107 exam, you’re required to remain within FAA compliance any time you take to the sky. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you kick off your drone business, or implement drones at your company.

US Airspace Restrictions and Authorization

Planning a flight operation is the most important step in complying with FAA guidelines. You must be sure to take airspace restrictions into consideration at all times.

To evaluate the airspace for a mission, you will need to reference a validated airspace map. It’s up to the pilot in command (PIC) to ensure the flight is in operating within legal airspace. If your job requires operation in a restricted airspace — or at night — you will need to submit a waiver request to the FAA before you take off. If a waiver is required, you must submit in advance and await authorization. Keep in mind that this can take 60–90 days to complete.

You can use tools such as Airmap, Skyward and Flyte to assist your flight planning. These services provide up-to-date restrictions and maps that makes flight planning more efficient. All are available in the DroneDeploy App Market.


Use the Airmap app available in the DroneDeploy App Market to evaluate airspace for a mission, check for nearby flight advisories, and get automated airspace authorization where available.

Learn More About FAA Airspace Restrictions and Waivers

Register Your Aircraft

Every aircraft weighing between .55 lbs (250 grams) and 55 lbs (25 kg) owned and operated by your company needs to be registered with the FAA. Be sure to mark your UAV with your registration number once you have completed this process.

You can register your aircraft with the FAA here.

Maintain Visual Line of Sight

Any time you fly commercially, you have to keep the UAV within visual line of sight (VLOS). If using First Person View (FPV) or other similar technology, you must also have a visual observer on site to keep an eye on the vehicle without the use of a visual aid — such as binoculars — to ensure nothing unexpected happens, such as crashing into a plane.

You are able to fly during daylight or twilight hours (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting. Minimum weather visibility is three miles from your control station.

Don’t Fly Too High (or Too Fast)

While your drone may be capable of flying higher, the maximum allowable altitude for any drone is 400 feet above ground level (AGL). There are exceptions if your drone remains within 400 feet of a building (or structure) the pilot in command is operating from. The maximum speed is 100 mph (87 knots).

Steer Clear of People

You can’t fly a small UAS over anyone who is not directly participating in the operation at the time. You also can’t fly the aircraft from under a covered structure, or not inside a covered stationary vehicle. Operations from a moving vehicle are prohibited unless you are flying over a sparsely populated area.

Read more about flight compliance in the FAA’s Part 107 Fact Sheet.

Where to Learn More

Getting Part 107 Certified is the first step to flying drones commercially. If you’re looking to start your own drone service business, or set up a drone program at your company, make sure to checkout our free resources.

  • Read our guide to starting a commercial drone business. It’s the ultimate guide for surviving and thriving in the world of drones for hire. Download it here.
  • Starting a drone operation at your company? Get a copy of our eBook Preparing for Takeoff to get answers to all your questions about implementing your in-house drone program.
  • Check out our free webinar series to learn from drone pros across industries.

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.



Understanding Commercial Drone Regulations was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Tips for buying, storing, and maintaining your drone batteries

Batteries have come a long way in a short time. If you’re new to drones, chances are you’ve got a few questions about batteries. How many do I need? How do I store them? Do they require maintenance?

Today’s drones run on lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries, and require management to ensure safe flight and storage. The logistics of transporting, storing, tracking, and replacing your fleet’s batteries can prove to be a challenge for a growing team. And batteries are often overlooked by program coordinators just getting started. The cost of purchasing, maintaining, and replacing batteries is something you’ll want to consider from the start.

Here are some battery tips and best practices to help you set-up and scale your drone operation.

This is the second installment in our two-part series on drone maintenance. If you missed part 1, read it here.


Image courtesy of DJI. Purchase batteries for your DJI drone via the DJI Online Store.

Buying Drone Batteries

Each drone usually comes with 1–2 batteries at the time of purchase. However, we recommend you buy additional batteries to meet the flight demands of your industry and projects. For reference, each manufacturer lists flight time for drone models in the hardware specifications.

Some jobs may require multiple flights to map large areas, which means additional batteries are needed. We recommend purchasing a minimum of 4–6 batteries for each drone in your fleet. Having 4–6 batteries per drone translates into 2+ hours of flight time in the field.

Keep in mind external factors such as temperature and wind can affect flight time and should be taken into consideration when planning a mission.

Storing Drone Batteries

So, you have purchased your drone batteries, but how do you charge and store them safely?

Here are some tips to avoid potential issues such as a fire in your office:

  • Store batteries in a cool, dry place away from flammable objects or liquids
  • Don’t overcharge batteries, leave batteries charging overnight, or without observation
  • Keep batteries in a room that has a functional smoke detector, fire extinguisher, or sprinkler system should a fire occur
  • When traveling, keep your batteries safely nestled in a travel case. If you’re traveling by plane, check with your airline beforehand for the latest policy. Drones and batteries are allowed on planes in accordance with TSA guidelines. Lithium-ion batteries must remain under 100 watts and be stored in carry-on luggage.

Maintaining Drone Batteries

Batteries, like the drones themselves, require maintenance over time to ensure they are in proper working condition. Before and after each flight batteries should be inspected for signs of damage. If batteries suffer from any damage, they should be disposed of properly and replaced.

Use the AirData UAV Sync App available in DroneDeploy’s App Market to understand your battery health. Detect deviations in battery cells that could lead to issues down the line, and gain insight into when you should consider retiring and disposing of a battery.


AirData UAV Sync can detect deviations in your battery health. Learn more here.

Batteries should also undergo testing and diagnostics throughout their lifecycle. There are a variety of tools that can analyze battery data to provide you with insights into battery health. Using these tools, you can take a look “under the hood” and get a better idea of when it may be time to replace your fleet’s batteries.

Where to Learn More

  • Interested in getting more information on fleet maintenance and repairs? Check out our free eBook to learn more about drone repair and battery maintenance.

Read our ultimate guide to setting up your in-house drone operation.
  • Read part one in this blog series to learn more about drone repair.
  • Just getting your in-house drone program started? Read this post and learn 5 tips to get your operation off the ground.
  • New to drone mapping? Read these 10 tips for success during your first flight with DroneDeploy.
  • Print off our pre-flight checklist to make sure you never miss a thing during your next pre-flight inspection.

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.



The Art of Drone Maintenance and Repair Part 2: was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.



Image courtesy of DJI

Tips and best practices for keeping your UAV in good working order

Take care of your drone, and it will take care of you.

Like any other piece of equipment on your farm, job site, or mine, drones should undergo routine maintenance and inspection. Regular UAV maintenance lowers the chances of accidents, saves money down the road, and reduces the risk of liability for your team.

If you recently purchased a drone for your business, or are considering a purchase, you may have some questions. What should I look out for? What are the most common types of drone repairs? Where do I get my drone fixed if I crash it? These are all good questions.

Read on to learn three things to keep in mind when practicing the art of UAV maintenance.

1. Inspect Your Drone Before and After Each Flight

Consider inspecting your drone for issues before and after each flight. Some everyday things to look out for include: cracks in the hull, damage to the propellers, and dirty cameras or sensors.

Cleaning the Drone

You should always try to keep your drone hardware clean and free of dust, debris, and dirt. One way to limit the amount of dust and debris is to avoid changing your camera lenses in windy conditions or landing in dusty patches of grass when you can. But sometimes it’s not possible, and your drone will need to cleaned.

Cleaning the Hull

If dirt, mud, or dust collects on your hull, wiping it with a damp rag or cloth should do the trick. We recommend using a microfiber cloth. Pick one up at your local auto parts or hardware store for a few bucks and keep it with your drone. For difficult stains, consider using a plastic-safe cleaning solution.

Cleaning the Camera or Sensor

Any photographer knows that dust is the enemy of a camera. Luckily, many of today’s drone cameras have self-cleaning sensors, protective seals, or filters covering the sensor itself. For models that have removable lenses, such as the DJI X5 camera, dust can become more of an issue. If dust does get on the protective glass filter covering the sensor, pick up a can compressed air or a sensor swab from your local camera shop and wipe it clean.

If a camera seal breaks, dust can get on the sensor. When this happens, send off your drone to the manufacturer for repair (more on this below). Cleaning the sensor requires taking apart the hardware, which often voids the factory warranty. Make sure you check out your manual and warranty information before making any repairs yourself.

Replacing the Propellers

As a general rule of thumb, you should replace your UAV’s propellers after every 200 flights — even if no damage occurs.

Need help keeping track of your flights? Take advantage of apps like Skyward, Airdata UAV Sync, NV Drones, and Drone Logbook to log flight data, so you know how many flights you’ve completed. This will make it easier to know when it’s time to replace propellers. Check them out in the DroneDeploy App Market.

If you see chips or crack on the propellers, you can order new propellers from the manufacturer. Check out the DJI Online Store to order replacement propellers for any DJI drone.

2. Update the Firmware

Before you go out and fly any mission, it’s always important to make sure that your drone firmware is up to date. Firmware updates are issued for drone hardware and fix any reported issues or features to support safe flight.

Not sure how to update your firmware on a DJI aircraft? Check out DroneDeploy’s Zero-to-Hero video tutorial series for a complete walkthrough.

Keep in mind that when you are updating the firmware, it’s best to remove the props from the drone beforehand.

3. Repair Your Drone

If your drone becomes damaged, you should send it off to the manufacturer for repair before flying again. Operating a broken drone increases the chances of an accident occurring.

Depending on the manufacturer, you may also be able to take advantage of a certified reseller or retail store for maintenance and repair. DJI offers online and in-store repair requests and equipment pickup. Visit the DJI Repair Services Center for more information.

Not sure where to find your local DJI retail store or recommended service center? Use this online tool to find one closest to you.

Where to Learn More

  • Interested in getting more information on fleet maintenance and repairs? Check out our free eBook to learn more about drone repair and battery maintenance.

Read our ultimate guide to setting up your in-house drone operation.
  • Just getting your in-house drone program started? Read this post and learn 5 tips to get your operation off the ground.
  • New to drone mapping? Read these 10 tips for success during your first flight with DroneDeploy.
  • Print off our pre-flight checklist to make sure you never miss a thing during your next pre-flight inspection.

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.



The Art of Drone Maintenance and Repair Part 1 was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


DroneDeploy’s Top 8 Commercial Drone Predictions for 2018

2017 was the most significant year for commercial drones yet. We saw drones used in almost every industry from archaeology to agriculture. More than 66,000 remote pilots were certified by the FAA in the US alone. And major companies have started setting up in-house operations.

It’s an exciting time for our industry. Here at DroneDeploy, we’ve been close to the action, helping companies large and small put drones to work. Our customers have used drones to improve safety, increase efficiency, cut costs, and drive ROI. We think this is just the beginning.

What’s next as our industry continues to grow and mature in 2018? How will drones continue to transform workflows and generate insights in new and innovative ways?

Read on to get DroneDeploy’s Top Predictions for the Commercial Drone Industry in 2018.

Download the complete eBook here.


Download the complete eBook to learn more.

8: Consumerization of Drone Hardware Continues; Services Drive Industry Ahead

Consumerization isn’t a new trend. Tech giants like Apple and Google have been using this model for years to create products simple enough for the consumer, but powerful enough for the enterprise (Hello, iPhone). The drone industry is no different. Learn why we think this trend will continue and what it means for the industry in our latest eBook.

7: (More) Outside Players Enter the Industry

In 2017, we saw some major players throw their hat into the ring. From Intel to Facebook, more outside companies are getting into the drone industry. We expect this trend to continue as new partnerships form and deeper integrations emerge with existing industry solutions. Learn more here.

6: In-House Drone Programs Become Mainstream

2017 was, without a doubt, the year of the enterprise drone program. At DroneDeploy, we saw the number of internal programs surge as companies decided to bring operations in-house. This change is to be expected, just as IT departments began popping up when large firms started adopting computers. Learn where we think this trend is going in 2018 by downloading our eBook.

5: First Large-Scale Fleet Deployments

In 2017, we saw a shift in the commercial drone space. Particularly, the number of enterprises adopting drones and DroneDeploy. As more companies move past proof of concept and expand operations in 2018, we expect to see the first large-scale deployments take to the skies. What will this look like? Learn more here.

4: Drones Enter a New Era of Automation

As more large companies put drones to work, we can expect to see a greater need for automated flight and workflows. More APIs and integrations will connect drone data with industry tools downstream, eliminating silos and driving collaboration across organizations.

To read the rest of DroneDeploy’s 2018 industry predictions, download the complete ebook here.


Download the complete eBook to learn more.

Where to Learn More

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.



2018 Commercial Drone Industry Predictions was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Announcing the first, second, and third place winners of DroneDeploy’s 12 Days of Maps contest

Now that we’re (mostly) recovered from our holiday-induced food slumbers, we’re back to share some exciting news about our latest contest—12 Days of Maps.

Before we announce the winners, we’d like to take a moment to express our gratitude to all of you who participated and give an extra special shoutout to Airdata UAV for partnering with us on the grand prize.

From first time mappers to seasoned experts, we were blown away by maps made by all skill levels. With so many to choose from, you can bet it was difficult for our team to decide which one was the best.

Without further ado, can we get a drumroll, please?

First Place

In first place, winning the grand prize of a DroneDeploy t-shirt, 3D printed model, and a one-year subscription to Airdata UAV’s HD 360 Pro Plan is Chris Ken of Project xK with his stunning 3D model of a church in Switzerland. (Can you believe this was one of Chris’s first maps with DroneDeploy?)

Second Place

Not too far behind him was HadMcw, a company in New Zealand that uses DroneDeploy to monitor where land work is needed.

Third Place

Sens Technologhy takes the cake for third place with their map of Phaltan, a town in India. Look at this urban density!

Thank you again to all of our participants for making 12 Days of Maps a success. If you didn’t win this round, don’t worry. We will have more opportunities to win again in the future. So, stay tuned and keep sharing your maps with us. You never know what you might get.

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.



And the Winner is… was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


DroneDeploy improves flight plans for small areas, gets a fresh new UI, and more

Winter is here. And with it comes new updates to DroneDeploy to get you through the cold days ahead.

We’re excited to share what we’ve been working on this month, including a fresh new redesign of our user interface (UI). Read on to learn about the latest flight enhancements for small maps, improvements to map exports, and updates to our beta features.

Improved Flight Plans for Small Areas

We have improved flight for map plans less than 5 acres in size, making it easier to produce a great map. Our new layout gives you symmetrical, edge-to-edge coverage so that your datasets include enough images to produce high-quality maps — no matter how small the area.


Our new layout gives you symmetrical, edge-to-edge coverage so that your datasets include enough images to produce high-quality maps

Export Maps in Any Format with Our Enterprise APIs

Our powerful enterprise APIs have always made it possible to extend DroneDeploy into your existing workflow. Our latest update takes this one step further. You can now export maps in any format via the Export API — making it easier than ever to automatically backup maps or integrate data with your existing tools. Whether you need to export a point cloud, an orthomosaic tiff, or a contour map, DroneDeploy has you covered. APIs are available to all enterprise users.


Export your map data in any format with our Enterprise APIs

DroneDeploy UI Gets a New Look and Feel

We always strive for simplicity and function in our product design. The new look improves our layout and simplifies iconography while making things easier to read across devices. It also reduces the chances of making any mistakes when adjusting flight settings like altitude, sidelap, and frontlap.


Our flight planning UI got an upgrade—now with improved function, icons, and readability

Better Map Sharing and Collaboration

Earlier this year, we released folders for better project management and team collaboration. We have now improved the messaging around folders to make it clear when moving a map may cause others in your organization to lose access. If a member of your organization does lose access, they will receive an email notification telling them who is responsible should they need to regain access in the future.

3D Mode and Fieldscanner Get an Update

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 week, two of our most popular beta features got even better.

3D Mode is now available on the main flight planning dashboard. To activate this feature, just flip the toggle in DroneDeploy Labs.

Fieldscanner — our real-time mapping solution — has come a long way since we announced the beta last March. We’ve made some major improvements, unlocking the ability for customers to generate instant maps of their fields and job sites in real time as the drone flies. You can now activate this feature from the main flight planning dashboard. Fieldscanner is now available to all paid users.

Where to Learn More

New to DroneDeploy? Explore 10 tips for making your first map.

Read more about our recent product updates and releases including:

Have questions about 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.



Product Release Wrap-Up December 2017 was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Lessons learned from helping companies large and small get their drone programs off the ground

2017 was a banner year for drones. It probably seems like every time you turn around, a new company in your industry has gotten into the UAV game. And for good reason. Drone mapping delivers an average of 3X cost and time savings compared to traditional methods of data capture. With results like this, chances are you’re thinking about getting into the action by building a drone program at your company.

But if you are going to do this, you should do it right. And you’ve probably got some questions before you begin. Where do I start? What should I consider? What are the risks? To jumpstart your UAV journey, and get the rest of the company on board, here are five things to consider before you set up an in-house drone operation.

1. Create Corporate Buy-in with a Clear Plan of Adoption

You may already know that drones increase efficiency, drive down costs, and increase ROI, but what about your top execs? No matter how jazzed you are about drones, it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t convince corporate to back your efforts.

As you work to create executive buy-in, be prepared to meet with skepticism and obstacles. Your goal is to answer their questions before they get a chance to ask them. To minimize pushback, come in with a thorough, thoughtful plan of action right out of the gate.

Elements to include in your drone program plan of adoption:

  • Start small with a proof of concept, such as
  • Identify immediate opportunities with the highest rate of return
  • Focus on business outcomes, not just the exciting technology
  • Develop metrics to measure success
  • Include a data management plan
  • Gather input from key stakeholders

2. Understand The Regulations

Commercial drone legislation introduced around the world has made it easier than ever to integrate UAVs into your operations, but there are still licensing and airspace regulations that must be followed. You’ll save yourself a lot of headache — and calls from legal — if you take time to understand them.

Familiarize yourself with the regulatory framework for flying drones commercially in your part of the world. If you are in the US, you’ll need to consult the FAA’s Part 107 regulations and accompanying pilot certification requirements.

To learn more about pilot certification and airspace regulations, download our full eBook on setting up a drone operation.

3. Build a Strong Drone Team

You might start with just one drone at a single job site, but chances are, your program won’t stay that small for long. When it comes time to scale up, avoid growing pains by building a solid drone team and establishing clear roles and responsibilities.

Here are some of the key roles we often see our customers hiring for when launching their programs:

Chief Pilot and UAV Operations Coordinator: This role oversees setup, develops strategy, and manages the program. While you may choose to contract out other team positions, we recommend hiring an in-house person to lead your program.

Pilots: Pilots can be contracted out or hired in-house. They are responsible for collecting drone data in the field and providing deliverables to the team. Our eBook includes an in-depth discussion about contracting out or hiring in-house drone pilots.

Drone Data Analyst: You’ll need someone to manage and analyze your data to generate insights and make discoveries. This should be an in-house employee — someone familiar with your industry challenges and able to assist the team by putting all this data to work.


DARTdrones will train your team and provide ongoing consultation. Learn More.

4. Minimize Risk with Insurance, Training, and Safety Procedures

There is a lot on the line with incorporating drones into the workplace. You’ll need to take the necessary steps to ensure you are minimizing that risk and doing everything to support a safe environment for the program to thrive.

Establish written safety protocols. To increase buy in for these protocols, make sure they are simple and repeatable. Educate employees about the potential risks of flying drones and make sure employees at all levels of the company are on board.

Purchase adequate drone insurance for your fleet. There are two basic types of insurance that you will want to consider: hull and liability. Liability insurance is an absolute must. Hull insurance, usually separate from liability coverage, is especially important to consider if you are operating a more expensive system such as the DJI Inspire or Matrice series.

Invest in a training program for your team. We recommend working with DARTdrones, the industry’s leading training and consultation program. DARTdrones can provide custom training packages for any team.

5. Do Your Homework on Drone Hardware and Software

It’s important to choose the right hardware and software solutions early on so that when the time comes to scale, you won’t have to change gears and introduce a new workflow across your team. There’s a lot to choose from, so keep these things in mind as you shop around:

  • Buy a drone that supports your use case: Consider your industry, average flying conditions, and mapping subject before you buy.
  • Keep budget in mind: In many cases, you don’t need the most expensive model on the market to get great results.
  • Newer is usually better: Invest in the latest drone model for a longer shelf life, more software integrations, and a better user experience.
  • Choose best-in-class software: To get the results you need, choose a broad, integrated technology solution like DroneDeploy. Ask about our platform’s powerful APIs, now available to enterprise customers.

Download our full eBook to learn more about setting up your drone operation, including an in-depth discussion about drone hardware, rules and regulations, and the benefits and risks of contracting external drone pilots.

Where To Learn More

  • Read more about choosing the right drone hardware in our two-part blog series: Part 1 & Part 2
  • Download our Drone Buyer’s Guide for a comprehensive review of the top drones in the industry.
  • See how McCarthy Building Companies expanded an in-house UAV program from one drone to twenty in less than a year with DroneDeploy. Read the case study.
  • 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.



5 Things to Consider When Setting Up Your In-house Drone Operation was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.