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

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

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

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


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

A World-Class Mapping Experience in the Cloud

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

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

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

This release includes four major improvements over earlier beta versions:

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

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


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

The More You Map, The Smarter Map Engine Gets

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

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


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

A Photogrammetry Engine in Your Pocket

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

Access Map Engine Today

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

Where to Learn More

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

Get Started with DroneDeploy

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



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


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

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

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

See the Latest Advancements in Drone Software and Hardware

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

Get Hands-On Training from Product Experts

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

Discover the Latest Industry Trends and Insights

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

Network with Your Peers

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

Celebrate with Our Community

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

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

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

Where to Learn More

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

Get Started with DroneDeploy

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



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


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

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

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

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

Export Data, Organize Workflows, and Visualize Insights with Optelos

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

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


Manage data with powerful analytics and results visualization

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


Optelos provides comprehensive support to view your data

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

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

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

Assign Tasks, Highlight Issues and add Descriptions to Drone Imagery

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

Automate Analysis with AI-Powered Insights

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

Share Data and Generate Customized Reports in Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

1. Transfer exported layers to Optelos

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

2. Transfer all images to Optelos

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

3. Automatically Create Work Packages in Optelos

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

Where to Learn More

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

Get Started with DroneDeploy

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



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


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

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

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

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

Steer Clear of Dangerous Situations

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

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

Harness the Power of Drone Data

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

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


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

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

Embrace the Latest Technology

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Line

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

Where to Learn More

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

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

Get Started with DroneDeploy

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



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


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

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


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

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

Drone Maps Provide High-Value Data for City Officials

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Compiling Accurate Data and Measurements. Fast.

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


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

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

Better Collaboration Using a Platform Built for Teams

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

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


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

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

Where to Learn More

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

Get Started with DroneDeploy

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



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


DroneDeploy adds supports the latest DJI drones, improves annotation reports, and unveils a new 3D viewer

Over the past month, we’ve enhanced our platform capabilities to make drone data more accessible to our customers.

Read on to learn more about our latest drone support, improvements to our measurement tools and annotation reports, our new 3D viewer, and more. To see these new releases in action, sign into your DroneDeploy account today.


DroneDeploy now supports the DJI Mavic Air, M210 series, and Phantom 4 Pro V2.

Support for the Latest DJI Drones is Here

You asked, and we delivered. We are excited to announce that we now support DJI’s latest drones including the Phantom 4 Pro V2, Mavic Air, and M210 + M210 RTK. Please note that the RTK geotagging is not supported in this release. For a full look at our supported drones, visit our updated support docs.


New and improved annotation reports make sharing data and insights even easier.

Annotation Reports Just Got Better

Check out the new and improved annotation report in the reports section of your exports tab. The report now includes link sharing & printing, surface area & distance, separate tables for each annotation type (distance, location, area, volume), and the ability to brand your report. This feature is available for any user. Create your first annotation report today.

Introducing DroneDeploy’s New 3D Viewer

Our 3D viewer got a big upgrade. 3D Models are now more responsive, and viewable in higher resolution. The new viewer also allows you to explore larger data sets on desktop and mobile. Stay tuned for more updates on what this viewer means for the future.

Extend Your Analysis with Surface Area Measurements

We’ve improved our measurement tools to include surface area. When you make an area measurement, you’ll now see two numbers on the sidebar — Area, referencing flat area, and Surface Area. You can also find both of these measurements in your annotation reports.

View High-Resolution Map Overlays on Your Desktop

DroneDeploy now supports vector overlays. This allows you to maintain the resolution of an overlay when you zoom in and explore your map. The next time you’re comparing your project to plans, you can do so with clear, accurate overlays no matter the level of detail. Overlays are available to all All Business & Enterprise customers.

Where to Learn More

Read more about our recent product updates and releases including:

Get Started with DroneDeploy

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



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


As the drone industry continues to soar, public safety agencies are reaping life-saving benefits from innovative UAV technology

We are still pretty far off from a RoboCop future. But that hasn’t stopped police from soliciting help from robots on the job. Well, the flying kind anyway. According to a 2017 report by Freedonia Group, drone spending by county and municipal governments will reach $80 million by 2025 — mostly for police, fire and rescue agencies. Drone use by emergency services is up 82% this year already.

For police agencies, drones help officers catch bad guys, rescue disaster victims, and reconstruct traffic accidents. In fact, agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) now recognize the value that drones and drone mapping software represent for accident investigations.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits drones — and DroneDeploy — offer public safety agencies.


Police Departments around the US are now using drones to investigate accident scenes.

Collect Data Faster with Drones

Coupled with the latest drones, officers use mapping software from DroneDeploy to investigate accidents without wasting time or resources deploying manned helicopters. In many cases, a traffic accident scene scan takes less than 10 minutes with a drone.


An orthomosaic drone map of the scene created with DroneDeploy.

Recently, the Hartselle Police Department in Alabama demonstrated the effectiveness of DroneDeploy coupled with a DJI Mavic Pro.

Following a serious traffic accident, an FAA-certified officer used the drone, powered by DroneDeploy, to photograph almost 3 acres over the scene. Investigators were able to fly, capture and geo-tag each image, and preserve the entire scene in 3D, providing more in-depth insight into the accident’s cause and surrounding factors.

The best part? It required only a fraction of the time it would have taken a team of officers. “We were able to document the entire scene in just under 7 minutes of flight time,” said Sergeant Kelly Roberts of the Hartselle Police Department. Sergeant Roberts is part of a UAS working group comprised of police, fire, and other first responders in the Southeast U.S. working to integrate drones into the public safety sector.

“We think drones can help first responders act more effectively on the scene by capturing aerial information during natural disasters and accidents.”—Sergeant Kelly Roberts of the Hartselle Police Department

Increase Officer Safety in the Field

The same drone technology that keeps accident investigations short also keeps officers safe. Once an aerial scan is complete, investigators can review the data from their office, reducing the time needed to stop traffic, which in turn creates a safer experience for drivers and officers. Sergeant Roberts says this is a major benefit to public safety because anytime traffic is stopped the chances of another accident occurring go up.

Additionally, officers eliminate the need to travel back and forth to dangerous roadways to collect more data, such as road markings. One flight can yield all the data needed to wrap up an investigation.


An overhead photo collected at the scene with DroneDeploy and the DJI Mavic Pro.

Get a Birds-Eye-View of the Scene

Because drone flights cover an entire scene at once, data points are rarely missed as they might be in a typical “walk-around” investigation. “Having an aerial perspective makes a big difference,” said Sergeant Roberts.

In addition, users can generate real-time maps on iOS devices as the drone flies with Live Map — all without an internet connection. DroneDeploy eliminates the need to upload and process drone imagery, allowing users faster access to data, resulting in quicker decision-making in the field.

Reconstruct Imagery and Markup Maps


Markup maps with annotations and take measurements with DroneDeploy.

Once imagery is captured from the scene, it’s processed into high-resolution maps and 3D models for further inspection.

Using DroneDeploy, you can then mark-up the scene with notes, measurements, and annotations.

“The ability to take measurements in the software is a big benefit,” said Sergeant Roberts. “It generates comparable results to our officer’s existing methods.” And because DroneDeploy captures the entire scene in 3D, investigators can permanently archive the digital reconstruction. It’s also easy to share maps and 3D models with collaborators back in the office because DroneDeploy is cloud-based.

For now, Sergeant Roberts says that the drone program is a backup traditional evidentiary collection after an accident takes place. But he expects that to change down the line. “The hope is that one day we can roll out a complete UAS workflow and replace our existing methods.”

Where to Learn More

See how RTI Forensics uses drone maps and models help investigate catastrophic failures in this post.

New to DroneDeploy? Read our top 10 tips for making your first map.

Ready to add drones into your workflow? Read our free guide to integrating drones into your company here.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

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



Transforming Accident Investigation With Drones was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Real-time drone data yields 75% savings for Chasco Constructors on $29M project

Construction crews working on a 50-acre site in Texas earlier this year probably didn’t even notice that one of the project’s most valuable assets was hovering just a few hundred feet overhead. Flying a drone over the site gave project managers unprecendented insight into the project, and helped them achieve massive ROI.

Chasco Constructors deployed drones for the first time in 2017 to help it manage the construction of a 65,000-square-foot Public Safety Training Center in Round Rock, Texas. The entire project lasted about 18 months, and drone monitoring helped keep everyone on the same page. And get this: the work was actually completed ahead of schedule.


Michael Lambert, VDC Manager at Chasco Constructors flying a drone on site.

Drone data helped Chasco more efficiently manage everything from initial site surveys to ongoing work in progress. In fact, the value of using a drone on the Round Rock job was so easy to quantify that Chasco is now using drones to help monitor more than 20 job sites throughout Texas.

Chasco used a DJI Phantom 3 Pro drone, combined with drone mapping software from DroneDeploy, on the training center site. The software enabled a single technician to manage everything from flights and mapping to analysis and reporting.


An early map of the site as construction got underway.

Unlocking Faster Surveys and 75% Cost Savings

The guy who managed the drone was Michael Lambert, virtual design and construction manager at Chasco. He was responsible for integrating drone mapping tools into the project. “We used drones to monitor the progress of the work, including monitoring subcontractors and tracking materials and equipment,” he says.

One of the most significant benefits of using DroneDeploy mapping technology on the Round Rock project was improved site surveying efficiency. “It was about a 75 percent savings,” Michael says. This lead to tremendous ROI overall.

“What would have taken surveyors about eight hours took me about two hours. And you also have the cost savings of paying one person instead of a three-man crew.” — Michael Lambert, VDC Manager at Chasco Constructors

Using drone imaging analysis enabled Chasco to capture and analyze much more granular site detail than a ground-based survey team could collect. At the same time, it freed up the surveyors to focus more on what they do best, such as high precision layout, bluetops, and cut sheets for utilities.


This drone-generated 3D model was captured with DroneDeploy and processed in just a few hours in the cloud. It was used to monitor work in progress and keep stakeholders informed.

Monitoring Work in Progress with Photos, Videos, Maps, and 3D Models

In addition to proving invaluable for survey work, the drone enabled project managers to keep a watchful eye on both their own work teams and subcontractors. Using DroneDeploy, Michael collected aerial imagery to make high-resolution maps and 3D models of the site.

Once the site was cleared and stripped, drone mapping was used to conduct a pre-construction topographic survey that defined the base ground control point (GCP) footprint for the life of the project. Michael used half a dozen fixed GCPs and several temporary ones to monitor ongoing project work, such as excavation and embankment. GCPs are particularly valuable because they use GPS to determine accurate positioning.

During the excavation phase of the project, the drone made weekly flyovers of the site. Once vertical construction started, Michael collected drone data every other week.

https://medium.com/media/cf2335d20a063b6698df0d79d4a11b38/href

A key piece to Michael’s workflow was made possible with DroneDeploy’s newest feature, Progress Photos. It automated the process of capturing aerial shots to monitor work progress. It also made it easy to incorporate that data into progress reports for key stakeholders.

Check out one of Chasco’s Progress Photo Reports.

The photo reports were particularly helpful in keeping the City of Round Rock aware of the progress made on site. The photos and 3D models ultimately allowed the city council to provide greater transparency to tax payers on money well spent — an added benefit Michael never saw coming.


This 3D model shows the project nearly complete. These 3D models were key to keeping the client and tax payers up-to-date on the project’s progress.

Cost-Effective Data Collection

As companies like Chasco have discovered, drones are a cost-effective data collection tool that provide a lot of bang for the buck. “Because drone hardware is relatively inexpensive, you can collect data every single week, or and even multiple times per week,” says Andy Putch, project manager at DroneDeploy.

Software helps convert that drone data into actionable business intelligence. For example, Michael used DroneDeploy’s annotation and measurement features to measure stockpile volumes and comment on maps shared in project status reports. “It’s easy to summarize project progress using the annotation marker,” he says.


Using DroneDeploy’s built-in annotation and measurment features, Michael was able to measure stockpile volume, drop annotation markers, and attach notes and ground-level photos.

Data from the drone also helped Chasco identify a potential issue related to excavation for a roadway.

“One of the major milestones is what we call reaching subgrade,” Michael says. “When we surveyed the subgrade, it wasn’t entirely correct. With the help of the drone, we were able to easily visualize the areas that were high or low.”

Ultimately, Chasco’s project managers decided that no modifications were needed. This eliminated the “mobilization costs” that would have otherwise been required to complete additional site work.

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead, Michael predicts that using drones will become a no-brainer for every major construction project. “I think the vertical aspect and the use of infrared will grow immensely,” he says. “As drones become more accurate, they also will become an even better tool for civil construction work.”

Where to Learn More

  • New to using drones for construction project management? Download our free introductory eBook to learn more.
  • Watch our recent webinar to hear how Chasco Constructors uses drones to track progress on 20 job sites in Texas.
  • See how Choate Construction leveraged drones to keep a 550,000 square-foot project on track and save $7,700 in the process.
  • Drones helped Key Construction save money, stay ahead of emerging issues, and salvage a subcontractor relationship on a $10 million project. Read the case study.

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.



Eye-in-the-Sky Helps Contractor Finish Major Construction Project Ahead of Schedule was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Learn how DroneDeploy and Procore help Key Construction win bids, monitor progress in real time, and improve team communication

The average large construction project costs 80% more than budgeted and run 20 months behind schedule*. While that may seem surprising to some, those who work in construction know that it’s easy for a project to fall behind.

From tracking site progress and managing subcontractors to keeping stakeholders informed, there is almost no end to the amount of coordination you face on any given day. As a construction project manager, you are the hub of an ever-changing landscape. But staying up to date on the many moving parts of a project can prove to be challenging — especially in an industry that primarily relies on paper-based reporting processes.


Pair DroneDeploy and Procore to improve your project management workflow with aerial insights.

That’s where cloud-based software tools like Procore and DroneDeploy come in. By incorporating drone insights into your project management workflow, it’s possible to view your job site in a whole new way. And ultimately, provide your team with the information and communication tools required to keep your projects running on schedule and budget.

We recently took a look at the benefits of integrating drone maps and models into your management workflow in our latest webinar Managing Construction Projects with Drone Data, which featured panelists from Procore and Key Construction. Watch the full recording here.


Watch the recording to hear from management experts at Procore and Key Construction.

If you’re interested in cutting weeks off your project timeline and improving the way your team communicates, it might be time to consider putting drones to work. Watch our recent webinar and read on to learn more.

Here are three ways you can use DroneDeploy and Procore on your next project:

Shorten Site Surveys and Win Bids

Drones shorten the time it takes to conduct site surveys, so you can place bids fast, and accelerate the planning and design process with highly accurate drone-generated maps and 3D models. You can even overlay drone maps with site plans such as utility, wastewater, and equipment clearances. For more advanced oversight and planning, export drone maps into BIM, GIS, and CAD software.

Key Construction relies on drone data throughout the entire lifecycle of their projects. As General Manager Steven Wells notes, surveying a site is critical to the pre-construction process, and having updated aerial imagery helps him align his team and subcontractors.


Key Construction used DroneDeploy to survey a job site, overlay site plans, and export the data to Procore to keep stakeholders informed of plans and document progress.

This was a key part of winning a recent project bid to build a multiplex cinema in the Dallas Fort Worth metro area.

“We flew over the site and were able to capture pre-existing conditions,” says Steven. Then he overlaid design plans and notes directly on top of the map and synced it to his Procore project album. “This data went out in all our bid documents and to our subcontractors. The more information that everyone has, the better informed we can all be — and the better bids we can get.”

This data helped Steven and his team demonstrate due diligence during the customer proposal process. He says this ultimately played a big role in winning the bid for Key Construction.

“Honestly, I can attribute a lot of this to us winning the project. Due diligence goes a long way.” — Steven Wells, General Manager at Key Construction

Track and Report Progress Every Week

Weekly drone maps reduce the amount of time spent walking a site to monitor progress and inspect for safety issues. It’s easy to repeat flights each week for consistency and create a comprehensive visual record of a project. Steven flies the job site bi-weekly to capture progress.

“We continue to fly the site throughout a project’s lifecycle,” says Steven. “We use orthomosaics for coordination, along with Live Maps and Progress Photos to keep the business development and marketing teams aware of what’s happening on site.”


Generate stockpile volume reports with the click of a button using DroneDeploy.

Your team can also capture Progress Photos and generate progress reports, accuracy reports, and stockpile volume reports for internal and external stakeholders, or compare real-time site conditions against plans to catch deviations before they add weeks to your timeline.

Each orthomosaic and digital elevation map can be exported to your Procore project album using the Procore Export app available in our App Market, allowing you to keep everyone up-to-date on any changes to the job site.


Export orthomosaic drone maps from DroneDeploy into your Procore Project Album with the Procore Export app available on DroneDeploy’s App Market.

Communicate with Your Team in Real Time

Drones simplify communication and information sharing, both internally and externally. Aerial imagery keeps entire teams aligned and informed with up-to-date, easily digestible visual data. DroneDeploy is cloud-based, so it’s easy to share annotated maps between team members in real time from the field using any mobile device, or keep external stakeholders up-to-speed on the progress of a project through share links and interactive 3D models of a job site.

Check out Live Map, DroneDeploy’s real-time mapping tool which stitches aerial imagery as the drone flies on your iOS device—no connection needed.


Leverage DroneDeploy’s built-in measurement and annotation tools to calculate stockpile volumes, markup drone maps with notes and photos, and communicate in real time with your team.

By communicating in real time, with the latest information from the job site, you can shave days — or even weeks — off your project timeline, all while avoiding added costs and delays associated with paper-based documentation.

To get an in-depth look at how you can capture aerial data, generate high-resolution photos, maps, and 3D models with DroneDeploy, and learn how Key Construction syncs data to their Procore project albums for streamlined communication and project management in our recent webinar.

Where to Learn More

  • New to using drones for construction project management? Download our free introductory eBook to learn more.
  • Drones helped Key Construction save money, stay ahead of emerging issues, and salvage a subcontractor relationship on a $10 million project. Read the case study.
  • Watch our recent webinar to hear how Chasco Constructors uses drones to track progress on 17 job sites in Texas.
  • See how Choate Construction leveraged drones to keep a 550,000 square-foot project on track and save $7,700 in the process.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

With the Construction Accuracy package from DroneDeploy, you get powerful insights and industry integrations to manage your project’s workflow from a single, easy-to-use drone data platform. Contact us to learn more.

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.

— —

*Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/capital-projects-and-infrastructure/our-insights/managing-big-projects-the-lessons-of-experience



Construction Pros Turn to Drones and Project Management Software to Win Bids was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


The Nature Conservancy uses DroneDeploy to map aquatic habitats and assess the impact of oyster aquaculture on eelgrass in Tomales Bay, California

Conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends is no small task. But The Nature Conservancy is up to the challenge, working every day to protect our planet.

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. Since starting in 1951, the organization — and their team of more than 600 scientists — has been wildly successful in achieving its goals. To date, they have protected more than 119 million acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers worldwide. With ongoing projects in 72 countries, the organization addresses threats to conservation involving climate change, access to clean water, ocean health, and everything in between.


The Nature Conservancy Pilot Kirk Klausmeyer prepares his drone for take-off in Tomales Bay.

The team at The Nature Conservancy began using drones to help scientists in the field collect critical data to better understand what’s happening in aquatic habitats. Most recently they put DroneDeploy to work on a local project here in California with Hog Island Oyster Company.


We recently spoke with Matthew Merrifield, CTO at The Nature Conservancy

We got the opportunity to speak with Matthew Merrifield, the Chief Technology Officer at The Nature Conservancy, about partnering with Hog Island Oyster Company and how his team used DroneDeploy to map aquatic habitats and assess the impact of oyster aquaculture on eelgrass in Tomales Bay.

“We find that the drones can provide a lot of primary science data for us,” says Matt. “The value-add of drones to us was the ability to capture really ephemeral activities, things that were changing on the landscape really quickly.”

Matt is leading the charge to integrate drone technology into field operations and sees drones playing a big role in achieving the organizations goals now and in the future. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s work with DroneDeploy, check out the short video below.

https://medium.com/media/9790381b84fad59f21420952af77b4e5/href

Where to Learn More

  • Learn more about The Nature Conservancy by visiting their website.
  • Check out Hog Island Oyster Company’s website to learn more about their work.
  • Scientists continue to adopt drones for field research. Read our recent case study with Ocean’s Unmanned to see how Maritime archaeologists use drone maps to survey shallow-water shipwrecks in marine sanctuaries.

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.



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