One of Chad Sanderson’s construction Live Map entries.

Hundreds of Live Maps were entered. But only one took home the grand prize — a DJI Mavic Pro

After a month-long Live Map frenzy followed by a lot of reviewing and voting by our team, we are excited to announce the winner who is taking the crown of the #LiveMapChallenge contest.

Can we get a drumroll please? Give a round of applause to Chad Sanderson, who wowed us with not only one, but four Live Maps of different construction sites. The maps were so crisp and clear that we couldn’t choose just one to feature. So, explore the maps below and let us know which one you like the most.


What do you think is being constructed at this site?

It may have been winter, but that didn’t stop the continuation of this project.

Out in Glenn Heights in Texas is this large site.

Can’t get enough of Live Maps like us? Scroll through more of these beauties for some inspiration for your next flight.


Almond Orchard by runner up, Alfredo Reyes.

Soccer field covered in snow, by Göran Norling

Golf course, by Droneros

We’d love to see your best mapping skills, so don’t be afraid to tag us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram to show off the DroneDeploy map you’re most proud of.

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 consultationwith one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.



Announcing the Winner of #LiveMapChallenge was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Insurance estimators turn to drones to fast-track property inspections and help communities rebuild in the wake of Northern California wildfires

When wildfires spread across Sonoma County last year, the destruction left entire communities in turmoil. Fires destroyed more the 6,600 properties and left thousands of families without homes in the wake of the disaster.


The Coffey Park subdivision of Santa Rosa was one of the hardest hit neighborhoods with at least 1,300 homes destroyed during the wildfire.

After the smoke cleared, insurers quickly got to work helping residents of Santa Rosa get back on their feet. But with thousands of properties to inspect — and dangerous, smoldering rubble in every direction — the job wasn’t easy.

That’s why companies turned to drones to fast-track the process and help residents rebuild. Drone maps and 3D models made it easier for insurance estimators to assess the damage caused by the fires and process claims faster.


Thomas Koester, President at Accurate Estimates Inc.

We recently spoke with Thomas Koester, President, and Principal Estimator at Accurate Estimates Inc., to learn more about how his team used drones to improve the estimation process after the recent wildfires.

Drones Streamline Inspections and Improve Forensic Estimation

Accurate Estimates specializes in forensic estimation. Thomas and his team have the difficult job of capturing detailed information about a property before it’s destroyed. Then they use that data to create a precise reconstruction cost estimate for insurance providers.

As you can imagine, this can be quite challenging — especially in the case of a wildfire. “Most of these families don’t have plans,” says Thomas. “And if they did have photographs or records, the documents are often burned up in the wildfire.” This makes it very challenging for estimators to assess the property and provide insurers with estimated building costs.


Accurate Estimates leverages DroneDeploy’s built-in measurement and annotation tools to to measure property features safely. Explore the map.

So Thomas has to start from the bottom. He assesses the foundation’s footprint, inspects any remaining structures, and measures property features such as fences, decks, and sidewalks.

In the past, he’d have to sift through the rubble and take manual measurements with a tape measure or laser measurement system, which was risky and time-consuming. But drones have changed things. Using DroneDeploy, he can fly a property, create a map and 3D model, and get insights without ever stepping foot on the property. As for the accuracy of these measurements? Thomas says, “the measurements are accurate down to the inch.”


Accurate Estimates uses drone-generated 3D models to generate insights and safely catalog damage to properties during the estimation process. Explore the model.

“With DroneDeploy, not only we can measure the foundation, but we can then create a 3D model, explore the topography of a lot, and measure property features like fencelines and pools — all from the safety of our office.”

Aerial Data Collection Makes Property Inspections Safer and More Efficient

Accurate Estimates is no stranger to disaster. With more than 30 years experience estimating damage for insurance companies, the team has seen it all. Fires, floods, earthquakes, you name it. But this is the first year the company is using drones as part of the estimation process.

“Drones are a breakthrough technology for our team,” said Thomas. “We can now get in, get out, and move on to the next site in record time.” Using DroneDeploy and a DJI Phantom 4 Pro, Thomas and his team collect imagery and property data six times faster than the traditional methods they have relied on in the past. Drone data has completely redefined his workflow, helping his team map and measure 5–6 properties per day, as compared to 1–2 properties in the past.

“DroneDeploy has increased our bottom line by more than 20%,” says Thomas. “We’re seeing a substantial increase in client bookings as a result of the efficiency of 3D aerial mapping.”


An overhead view of a Santa Rosa neighborhood where Accurate Estimates was hired to inspect multiple properties to assess damage and costs of rebuilding.

But it’s not just speed that has turned Thomas into a drone evangelist. As a lifelong estimator in dangerous industries like insurance and construction, he’s seen his fair share of accidents—including falling from a roof and injuring himself. So safety is always top of mind when he’s on site.

“Not only is DroneDeploy a practical solution, but it’s also a safety tool for us as well.” — Thomas Koester, President at Accurate Estimates Inc.

With drones, he and his team no longer have to climb roofs, comb through rubble, or expose themselves to dangerous materials when inspecting a site. They just drive to the property, fire up DroneDeploy, and let the drone do its job.

Then he packs things up and heads to the next site. He completes the analysis back at the office—from the safety of a desk chair.

The Future of Drones in Property Inspection and Estimation

Today, drones are being used post-disaster to help estimators, but Thomas is looking to change that. He sees drones playing an even larger role in the claims process down the road.

Thomas plans to be proactive and work with residents in high-risk areas to document properties with aerial photos, drone maps, and exterior and interior 3D models. He believes this will solve a lot of his customer’s issues and help them negotiate claims more effectively should disaster strike.

“If some unfortunate event happens, they will be miles ahead and able to prove claims with the insurer thanks to precise, as-built plans so they can put their life back together again,” Says Thomas

For now, he’s thrilled about the way drones have changed his work and is happy to play a small role in helping victims of disaster rebuild their lives.

Where to Learn More

Get Started with DroneDeploy

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 Show Up for Work in the Aftermath of the Santa Rosa Wildfires was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


California farm pairs DroneDeploy with John Deere Operations Center to increase net profit up to $15 per acre respraying defoliant during cotton harvest

When it comes time to harvest thousands of acres of cotton, the more you know about the crop, the better the yield. Bowles Farming Company takes this idea seriously. In fact, they have built a robust precision agriculture program around it.

Last growing season, the twelve-thousand-acre operation paired DroneDeploy with John Deere Operations Center to track their post-foliant cotton crop and generate a variable rate map for a targeted respray. Technology integration specialist Justin Metz shares the story of how this decision minimized equipment and supply costs while maximizing the cotton yield.


Justin imported the VARI map into John Deere Operations Center seamlessly from his DroneDeploy dashboard by using the My John Deere Export App.

Drones Help Create Precise Variable Rate Prescription in John Deere Operations Center

Before a cotton harvest, it is sprayed with a defoliant, which dries out the plant and opens the bolls which contain the cotton fibers. If a cotton picker harvests the crop before it thoroughly dries, valuable fibers are left in the bolls, making the equipment work harder and straining expensive parts.


Technology integration specialist Justin Metz mapping a field at Bowles Farm.

The problem is, without comprehensive information about an entire field, it’s difficult to know if the defoliant is drying the cotton evenly — and exactly when it will be ready to harvest. To solve this problem, Justin mapped close to 3,200 acres of cotton fields with a DJI Inspire 1 Pro and an X3 camera.

Objectives of the Drone Project

  • Create a variable rate map for a targeted respray of areas that weren’t drying as quickly.
  • Evaluate the field maps and choose the best harvest date.

Data Collection Process

  • 1st drone flight: 10 days prior to their estimated harvest date Justin would fly the cotton field and applied the VARI index to the new map. He used this information to make sure the cotton was drying out evenly across the fields and to adjust the order in which the fields were harvested, based on their readiness.
  • VARI index: Justin used DroneDeploy’s built-in plant health tools to apply a VARI index to the drone map.

For most crops, a VARI index is used to see if plants are healthy. Instead, Justin used it to make sure the cotton was dying. In this map, green areas required respraying.
  • Ground truth: As Justin knows, ground truthing your findings is crucial.
  • Export into John Deere Operations Center: Justin imported the VARI map into John Deere Operations Center seamlessly from his DroneDeploy dashboard by using the My John Deere Export App.
  • Generate variable rate map: Justin imported plant health information into John Deere Operations Center and could then create a variable rate map for precise respray of the areas that needed it. The per acre rate for the variable map was assigned according to the product used. They are also able to choose the appropriate material they need to apply based on how green the plants are and time left to until expected harvest date. Different products have different strengths, and days required for full affect. With those different strengths, comes different pricing. Using the Vari index and ground truthing they are able to determine the most economical product to apply taking into consideration how green the plants are and how much time is left until anticipated harvest.
  • 2nd drone flight: Justin was able to share the map with his crop advisor, and If requested, conduct a second flight to verify the remediation plan was on schedule.

NDVI sentinel 2 satellite imagery of a section of Bowles Farming Company’s cotton fields. Justin uploaded the imagery into DroneDeploy, and also used the platform’s Side by Side app to visualize how the entire cotton crop was progressing.

With Drone Data, Cotton Harvest is Less Costly and More Productive

Justin prefers using drones to generate highly-accurate aerial insights with centimeter per pixel accuracy. In the past, using traditional collection methods — such as manned aircraft imagery — for this purpose hasn’t been this detailed but gave you an overall snapshot. “With manned aircraft imagery, you have to make assumptions off of pretty pictures,” says Justin.

The accurate variable rate map that Justin created using drone data allowed him to precisely apply the second round of defoliant.

“Defoliant spraying is another $11–15 per acre, so for every acre we don’t have to spray, we increase our net profit for the harvest.” — Justin Metz, technology integration specialist at Bowles Farming Company

With timely aerial data about plant health, Bowles Farming Company went into the harvest confident that they had correctly estimated the best date for picking cotton. This strategy saved money by minimizing strain on the cotton picker, and maximized the yield by collecting the most cotton fibers from the plants.


Bowles Farming Company uses drone maps to detect pre-season drip irrigation leaks.

Drones Enhance Farm’s Precision Agriculture Program

At Bowles Farming Company, precision agriculture doesn’t end with drone data. They gather data on seeding, tractor and driver efficiencies, and actual rates applied for fertilizers. They also record information about speed and coverage of their sprayer, and analyze data from their water truck. Justin combines drone maps with all this data in the John Deere Operations Center. “It provides another layer of information and organizes it all into one place,” says Justin.

The farm uses drones in nearly every aspect of their operations, from assessing drip irrigation leaks, to monitoring crop emergence. Justin even sends screenshots of his DroneDeploy flight plans, which includes the area map, altitude and estimated flight time, to local crop dusters to avoid any airspace conflicts. He appreciates drones, and tools like DroneDeploy, for the simple workflows and actionable data that a single flight can produce.

“In the early days of drones, it was, ‘Here’s your drone and a pretty image that shows a bad spot.’ But guess what? A farmer already knows where his bad areas are. What he doesn’t know is when they are going to come up during the season. Now, we can see when the issue is starting and how big it is, then create a plan to fix it.’” — Justin Metz, Bowles Farming Company

The investment in drones has more than paid off for Justin and his team. But he does look forward to a day when he can automate all drone missions and spend less time flying and more time finding ways to further improve operations.

About Bowles Farming Company

Located near Los Banos in the Central Valley of California, Bowles Farming Company is a sixth-generation family farm operated by the Bowles and Lawrence families. They primarily produce annual crops, with a focus on tomatoes, melons, and extra long staple cotton — among other crops.

Where to Learn More

  • Attend our live webinar next month to hear more from Justin and learn to use drone maps and analysis to prepare your fields for a successful growing season.
  • Justin uses Live Map to collect instant drone data and analyze it right in the field. If you aren’t familiar with the newest generation of this game-changing technology, you can read more about it here.

Whether you are new to drones, or looking to increase your skills, our agriculture resources will give you lots to work with.

eBook: Drones in Agriculture

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


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

Drones in agriculture webinar series

Get Started with DroneDeploy



Bowles Farming Company Adds Drones to Their Precision Agriculture Program was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


DroneDeploy improves export capabilities, makes native resolution standard, and releases a new elevation calibration tool.

Over the past month, we’ve extended our platform capabilities to make working with drone data easier and more useful to your operations.

Read on to learn more about our new Precision Ag Package, the latest improvements to our data export options, and an all-new elevation calibration tool.

Maximize Yields with Our New Precision Ag Package

Just in time for the growing season, the DroneDeploy Precision Ag Package includes unlimited drone mapping and storage, as well as a curated toolset for generating actionable insights on the farm and in the field, including: Live Map, an advanced plant health toolkit, agriculture export options, AI-powered crop reports from Agremo, and access to our agriculture image processing engine. Learn more here.

Export Maps to PDF

If you’ve ever wanted to export your maps into PDF form, get excited. Our newest export option makes it simple to generate 2D PDFs of your maps to share with collaborators or import into your favorite industry tools. Our new 2D PDF exports also include the map name, date, your company logo, and a scale bar. You can find this new export option under the export menu. This feature is now available to all paid customers and trial users.


Select a PDF file type when exporting your map.

Calibrate Elevation Data for More Precise Maps

In the past, you may have found your map’s elevation data confusing or difficult to understand because it was on the point of takeoff. Our newest tool makes it easier than ever to calibrate elevation data for more precise maps. With the new elevation calibration tool, you can adjust all elevation data in a map based on a known elevation point — and interpret elevation data relative to mean sea level (MSL), a 0,0 point on a project, or another familiar frame of reference.


Calibrate your map’s elevation using a know elevation point.

To apply elevation calibration, just go to the map details section, click the “Calibrate” button, and identify a point of known elevation. Voilà! All your elevation data will be updated. This tool is now available to all customers on the Pro tier and above. Check out our support page to learn more.

Export Maps at Maximum Resolution

All paid DroneDeploy customers can now export maps in maximum resolution*. This enables you to get the resolution and level of detail you need for any project. Your maps have never looked better!


Select your desired export resolution.

*Please note that the map resolution is limited by the resolution of the imagery used to generate it, and is further reduced if the images are downsampled due to Turbo upload or hitting the upload size limit.

Export LAS Point Clouds in your Preferred Coordinate System

You can now export LAS point clouds in your preferred projection of you and decimate them so that they can reduce the file size to be more manageable in other software. This feature makes it easy to import DroneDeploy data into Civil 3D, Recap, and other 3D design software.


Export LAS point cloud files in your desired projection.

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

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:

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


California farm pairs DroneDeploy with John Deere Operations Center to increase net profit up to $15 per acre during cotton harvest

When it comes time to harvest thousands of acres of cotton, the more you know about the crop, the better the yield. Bowles Farming Company takes this idea seriously. In fact, they have built a robust precision agriculture program around it.

Last growing season, the twelve-thousand-acre operation paired DroneDeploy with John Deere Operations Center to track their post-foliant cotton crop and generate a variable rate map for a targeted respray. Technology integration specialist Justin Metz shares the story of how this decision minimized equipment and supply costs while maximizing the cotton yield.


Justin imported the VARI map into John Deere Operations Center seamlessly from his DroneDeploy dashboard by using the My John Deere Export App.

Drones Help Create Precise Variable Rate Prescription in John Deere Operations Center

Before a cotton harvest, it is sprayed with a defoliant, which dries out the plant and opens the bolls which contain the cotton fibers. If a cotton picker harvests the crop before it thoroughly dries, valuable fibers are left in the bolls, making the equipment work harder and straining expensive parts.


Technology integration specialist Justin Metz mapping a field at Bowles Farm.

The problem is, without comprehensive information about an entire field, it’s difficult to know if the defoliant is drying the cotton evenly — and exactly when it will be ready to harvest. To solve this problem, Justin mapped close to 3,200 acres of cotton fields with a DJI Inspire 1 Pro and an X3 camera.

Objectives of the Drone Project

  • Create a variable rate map for a targeted respray of areas that weren’t drying as quickly.
  • Evaluate the field maps and choose the best harvest date.

Data Collection Process

  • 1st drone flight: 10 days prior to their estimated harvest date Justin would fly the cotton field and applied the VARI index to the new map. He used this information to make sure the cotton was drying out evenly across the fields and to adjust the order in which the fields were harvested, based on their readiness.
  • VARI index: Justin used DroneDeploy’s built-in plant health tools to apply a VARI index to the drone map.

For most crops, a VARI index is used to see if plants are healthy. Instead, Justin used it to make sure the cotton was dying. In this map, green areas required respraying.
  • Ground truth: As Justin knows, ground truthing your findings is crucial.
  • Export into John Deere Operations Center: Justin imported the VARI map into John Deere Operations Center seamlessly from his DroneDeploy dashboard by using the My John Deere Export App.
  • Generate variable rate map: Justin imported plant health information into John Deere Operations Center and could then create a variable rate map for precise respray of the areas that needed it. The per acre rate for the variable map was assigned according to the product used. They are also able to choose the appropriate material they need to apply based on how green the plants are and time left to until expected harvest date. Different products have different strengths, and days required for full affect. With those different strengths, comes different pricing. Using the Vari index and ground truthing they are able to determine the most economical product to apply taking into consideration how green the plants are and how much time is left until anticipated harvest.
  • 2nd drone flight: Justin was able to share the map with his crop advisor, and If requested, conduct a second flight to verify the remediation plan was on schedule.

NDVI sentinel 2 satellite imagery of a section of Bowles Farming Company’s cotton fields. Justin uploaded the imagery into DroneDeploy, and also used the platform’s Side by Side app to visualize how the entire cotton crop was progressing.

With Drone Data, Cotton Harvest is Less Costly and More Productive

Justin prefers using drones to generate highly-accurate aerial insights with centimeter per pixel accuracy. In the past, using traditional collection methods — such as manned aircraft imagery — for this purpose hasn’t been this detailed but gave you an overall snapshot. “With manned aircraft imagery, you have to make assumptions off of pretty pictures,” says Justin.

The accurate variable rate map that Justin created using drone data allowed him to precisely apply the second round of defoliant.

“Defoliant spraying is another $11–15 per acre, so for every acre we don’t have to spray, we increase our net profit for the harvest.” — Justin Metz, technology integration specialist at Bowles Farming Company

With timely aerial data about plant health, Bowles Farming Company went into the harvest confident that they had correctly estimated the best date for picking cotton. This strategy saved money by minimizing strain on the cotton picker, and maximized the yield by collecting the most cotton fibers from the plants.


Bowles Farming Company uses drone maps to detect pre-season drip irrigation leaks.

Drones Enhance Farm’s Precision Agriculture Program

At Bowles Farming Company, precision agriculture doesn’t end with drone data. They gather data on seeding, tractor and driver efficiencies, and actual rates applied for fertilizers. They also record information about speed and coverage of their sprayer, and analyze data from their water truck. Justin combines drone maps with all this data in the John Deere Operations Center. “It provides another layer of information and organizes it all into one place,” says Justin.

The farm uses drones in nearly every aspect of their operations, from assessing drip irrigation leaks, to monitoring crop emergence. Justin even sends screenshots of his DroneDeploy flight plans, which includes the area map, altitude and estimated flight time, to local crop dusters to avoid any airspace conflicts. He appreciates drones, and tools like DroneDeploy, for the simple workflows and actionable data that a single flight can produce.

“In the early days of drones, it was, ‘Here’s your drone and a pretty image that shows a bad spot.’ But guess what? A farmer already knows where his bad areas are. What he doesn’t know is when they are going to come up during the season. Now, we can see when the issue is starting and how big it is, then create a plan to fix it.’” — Justin Metz, Bowles Farming Company

The investment in drones has more than paid off for Justin and his team. But he does look forward to a day when he can automate all drone missions and spend less time flying and more time finding ways to further improve operations.

About Bowles Farming Company

Located near Los Banos in the Central Valley of California, Bowles Farming Company is a sixth-generation family farm operated by the Bowles and Lawrence families. They primarily produce annual crops, with a focus on tomatoes, melons, and extra long staple cotton — among other crops.

Where to Learn More

  • Attend our live webinar next month to hear more from Justin and learn to use drone maps and analysis to prepare your fields for a successful growing season.
  • Justin uses Live Map to collect instant drone data and analyze it right in the field. If you aren’t familiar with the newest generation of this game-changing technology, you can read more about it here.

Whether you are new to drones, or looking to increase your skills, our agriculture resources will give you lots to work with.

eBook: Drones in Agriculture

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


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

Drones in agriculture webinar series

Get Started with DroneDeploy



Bowles Farming Company Add Drones to Their Precision Agriculture Program was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


California farm pairs DroneDeploy with John Deere Operations Center for smarter in-field decisions and maximized cotton yields

When it comes time to harvest thousands of acres of cotton, the more you know about the crop, the better the yield. Bowles Farming Company takes this idea seriously. In fact, they have built a robust precision agriculture program around it.

Last growing season, the twelve-thousand-acre operation paired DroneDeploy with John Deere Operations Center to track their post-foliant cotton crop and generate a variable rate map for a targeted respray. Technology integration specialist Justin Metz shares the story of how this decision minimized equipment and supply costs while maximizing the cotton yield.


Justin imported the VARI map into John Deere Operations Center seamlessly from his DroneDeploy dashboard by using the My John Deere Export App.

Drones Help Create Precise Variable Rate Prescription in John Deere Operations Center

Before a cotton harvest, it is sprayed with a defoliant, which dries out the plant and opens the bolls which contain the cotton fibers. If a cotton picker harvests the crop before it thoroughly dries, valuable fibers are left in the bolls, making the equipment work harder and straining expensive parts.


Technology integration specialist Justin Metz mapping a field at Bowles Farm.

The problem is, without comprehensive information about an entire field, it’s difficult to know if the defoliant is drying the cotton evenly — and exactly when it will be ready to harvest. To solve this problem, Justin mapped close to 3,200 acres of cotton fields with a DJI Inspire 1 Pro and an X3 camera.

Objectives of the Drone Project

  • Create a variable rate map for a targeted respray of areas that weren’t drying as quickly.
  • Evaluate the field maps and choose the best harvest date.

Data Collection Process

  • 1st drone flight: 10 days prior to their estimated harvest date Justin would fly the cotton field and applied the VARI index to the new map. He used this information to make sure the cotton was drying out evenly across the fields and to adjust the order in which the fields were harvested, based on their readiness.
  • VARI index: Justin used DroneDeploy’s built-in plant health tools to apply a VARI index to the drone map.

For most crops, a VARI index is used to see if plants are healthy. Instead, Justin used it to make sure the cotton was dying. In this map, green areas required respraying.
  • Ground truth: As Justin knows, ground truthing your findings is crucial.
  • Export into John Deere Operations Center: Justin imported the VARI map into John Deere Operations Center seamlessly from his DroneDeploy dashboard by using the My John Deere Export App.
  • Generate variable rate map: Justin imported plant health information into John Deere Operations Center and could then create a variable rate map for precise respray of the areas that needed it. The per acre rate for the variable map was assigned according to the product used. They are also able to choose the appropriate material they need to apply based on how green the plants are and time left to until expected harvest date. Different products have different strengths, and days required for full affect. With those different strengths, comes different pricing. Using the Vari index and ground truthing they are able to determine the most economical product to apply taking into consideration how green the plants are and how much time is left until anticipated harvest.
  • 2nd drone flight: Justin was able to share the map with his crop advisor, and If requested, conduct a second flight to verify the remediation plan was on schedule.

NDVI sentinel 2 satellite imagery of a section of Bowles Farming Company’s cotton fields. Justin uploaded the imagery into DroneDeploy, and also used the platform’s Side by Side app to visualize how the entire cotton crop was progressing.

With Drone Data, Cotton Harvest is Less Costly and More Productive

Justin prefers using drones to generate highly-accurate aerial insights with centimeter per pixel accuracy. In the past, using traditional collection methods — such as manned aircraft imagery — for this purpose hasn’t been this detailed but gave you an overall snapshot. “With manned aircraft imagery, you have to make assumptions off of pretty pictures,” says Justin.

The accurate variable rate map that Justin created using drone data allowed him to precisely apply the second round of defoliant.

“Defoliant spraying is another $11–15 per acre, so for every acre we don’t have to spray, we increase our net profit for the harvest.” — Justin Metz, technology integration specialist at Bowles Farming Company

With timely aerial data about plant health, Bowles Farming Company went into the harvest confident that they had correctly estimated the best date for picking cotton. This strategy saved money by minimizing strain on the cotton picker, and maximized the yield by collecting the most cotton fibers from the plants.


Bowles Farming Company uses drone maps to detect pre-season drip irrigation leaks.

Drones Enhance Farm’s Precision Agriculture Program

At Bowles Farming Company, precision agriculture doesn’t end with drone data. They gather data on seeding, tractor and driver efficiencies, and actual rates applied for fertilizers. They also record information about speed and coverage of their sprayer, and analyze data from their water truck. Justin combines drone maps with all this data in the John Deere Operations Center. “It provides another layer of information and organizes it all into one place,” says Justin.

The farm uses drones in nearly every aspect of their operations, from assessing drip irrigation leaks, to monitoring crop emergence. Justin even sends screenshots of his DroneDeploy flight plans, which includes the area map, altitude and estimated flight time, to local crop dusters to avoid any airspace conflicts. He appreciates drones, and tools like DroneDeploy, for the simple workflows and actionable data that a single flight can produce.

“In the early days of drones, it was, ‘Here’s your drone and a pretty image that shows a bad spot.’ But guess what? A farmer already knows where his bad areas are. What he doesn’t know is when they are going to come up during the season. Now, we can see when the issue is starting and how big it is, then create a plan to fix it.’” — Justin Metz, Bowles Farming Company

The investment in drones has more than paid off for Justin and his team. But he does look forward to a day when he can automate all drone missions and spend less time flying and more time finding ways to further improve operations.

About Bowles Farming Company

Located near Los Banos in the Central Valley of California, Bowles Farming Company is a sixth-generation family farm operated by the Bowles and Lawrence families. They primarily produce annual crops, with a focus on tomatoes, melons, and extra long staple cotton — among other crops.

Where to Learn More

  • Attend our live webinar next month to hear more from Justin and learn to use drone maps and analysis to prepare your fields for a successful growing season.
  • Justin uses Live Map to collect instant drone data and analyze it right in the field. If you aren’t familiar with the newest generation of this game-changing technology, you can read more about it here.

Whether you are new to drones, or looking to increase your skills, our agriculture resources will give you lots to work with.

eBook: Drones in Agriculture

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


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

Drones in agriculture webinar series

Get Started with DroneDeploy



Bowles Farming Company Incorporates Drones into Their Precision Agriculture Program was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Understand what’s happening in your fields and make smarter crop management decisions with the Precision Ag Package from DroneDeploy

Agriculture is one of the fastest-growing markets in the commercial drone industry. And it’s no wonder why. UAVs are quickly becoming the go-to tool for gathering crop intelligence, increasing efficiency in the field and enabling smarter crop management decisions. But many drone solutions aren’t built with Ag pros — or the unique, seasonal challenges you face — in mind. That’s why we’re excited to announce our latest offering tailored for the agriculture industry, the DroneDeploy Precision Ag Package.

This new software package provides you with the features and tools to maximize the impact of drone data on the farm, making it easy to focus on what matters most: boosting crop yields and minimizing inputs.

A Drone Data Platform Built for Use in the Field

Available now, the DroneDeploy Precision Ag Package includes unlimited drone mapping and storage, as well as a curated toolset for generating actionable insights on the farm and in the field, including:

Live Map generates maps and aerial insights in real time, as the drone flies.

Live Map — the ultimate crop scouting tool

A first of its kind feature, Live Map makes drone maps of your field as the drone flies. Examine crops, analyze crop health, and immediately ground truth your findings in real time from your iPad or iPhone — no SD card, internet connection, or laptop required. Learn more.

Agriculture image processing engine

We have developed the leading photogrammetry algorithm for agriculture mapping. Our image processing engine succeeds where others fail. With DroneDeploy, you can stitch imagery all season long — even late-stage and homogenous crop maps.


With DroneDeploy you can create field management zones with the click of a button.

Advanced crop health toolkit

Our precision agriculture toolkit supports a range of camera hardware and remote sensing algorithms so you can choose the workflow that meets your needs. Toggle between plant health algorithms like NDVI or VARI, utilize sensors from Senterra and SLANTRANGE, and create field management zones with the click of a button.


The DroneDeploy App Market features apps and integrations with industry-leading tools.

Ag-specific export options and industry-leading apps & integrations

Benefit from plant health shapefile exports, third-party agriculture apps, and integrations with leading software such as John Deere Operations Center and the AgX Platform. It’s never been easier to integrate drone data into your existing workflow. Explore the DroneDeploy App Market.

Smarter Crop Management with Actionable Intelligence from Agremo


An example of an Agremo Plant Population and Stand Count report.

Agremo is an industry-leading agricultural sensing and analysis platform. We’ve partnered with Agremo to bring drone crop reports to DroneDeploy, so our agriculture customers can create actionable reports that drive down costs and improve crop performance. The Precision Ag Package comes with access to Plant Population and Stand Count reports (up to 1,000 acres) — an added $1,500 value.

Stand Count

Count seasonal field crops and vegetables to determine accurate stand establishment with this report. You will also uncover sowing quality and any potential yield loss that could occur.

Plant Population

Get accurate, up-to-date plant counts from your field. This report is perfect for counting perennial plantations or row crops — including different orientation angle rows.

“I printed off the report and met him at edge of field. We walked out and ground-truthed the map and he was very impressed. I handed him the map and he was making a decision right from there.” — Corey Nohl, a grower and drone service provider, on pairing DroneDeploy and Agremo.
Read the case study

Upgrade or Get Started Today

Ready to start using drones on the farm? Contact a member of our team to talk about signing up for the DroneDeploy Precision Ag Package.

If you’re already a DroneDeploy customer, it’s easy to upgrade to the Precision Ag Package. Contact a member of our team to speak with them about upgrading today.

Where to Learn More

  • Read more about our Precision Ag Package by visiting our solution page.
  • Download our free eBook to learn the many ways you can put drones to work on the farm this season.
  • Register for our upcoming webinar with Bowles Farming Company and Beck’s Hybrids to learn how to leverage drones for field prep before the planting season kicks off.
  • Join us on the road for the DroneDeploy Agriculture Roadshow in Iowa and Illinois. Learn more by visiting our events page.
  • Read our free guide to crop scouting with drones.
  • Explore our on-demand agriculture webinar clinics to learn best practices for analyzing drone data and making crop management decisions.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

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



DroneDeploy Releases a Complete Drone Software Solution for Ag Professionals was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


BIM integration, automated safety reports, and AI-fueled maps are just a few of the reasons UAVs are set to revolutionize the construction industry

Imagine this: you get to work on Monday and a drone-generated job site report is waiting for you. While you were at home eating breakfast, your drone completed an automated site safety check, gathered data on your project’s progress, and assessed the work you need to do to stay on track.

Sound too good to be true? Nope.

This is the future of the construction job site, and it’s not as far away as you might think. For many construction companies, drones have become an integral tool for gathering site data and making informed decisions. And, with advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence on the horizon, drones are poised to completely revolutionize the construction industry in 2018 and beyond.

Here’s a look at where we are, where we’ve been, and the role of drones on the job site of the future.

The Evolution of Drones in Construction: From Experimental Technology to Business as Usual in Under Five Years


Five years ago, commercial drones looked a lot like expensive science experiments.

In 2012, deploying a drone on a construction site was a clunky, expensive endeavor (think slow, desktop processing and a $30K hardware & software package). The high barrier to entry made it tough for site engineers and operations managers to convince top brass that they should give these strange, flying robots a try.


Today, commercial drones are smaller, cheaper, and work with a range of devices thanks to software like DroneDeploy.

Fast forward five years, and what was once considered an experimental technology is now just a regular part of doing business on a construction site. The price of a drone has dropped nearly ninety percent, and much of the world’s computing has moved to the cloud. With major players like DJI and DroneDeploy leading the way, construction companies can now access hardware and software packages that meet their site-specific needs.

The Latest Drone Advancements in Construction

Today, UAVs play an integral role in everything from monitoring site progress to generating accurate contour maps, to measuring stockpiles. The importance of drones on the construction site continues to grow at a rapid pace, with no signs of slowing down.

In the last year alone, we saw some major advances that changed the way the construction industry interacts with drones. From advancements in edge computing and real-time analysis to automatic roof inspection, the latest hardware and software has unlocked new possibilities on the job site. Here are some of the highlights:

The Next Generation of Drones in Construction

Last year was a banner year for drones. But there is still much to come. Which bring us to the future of drones in construction, and what we can expect to see in 2018 and beyond.


Improvements in machine learning will make drones adaptive in urban environments, so they will sense obstacles automatically and adapt flight plans as needed.

Fully Automated and Adaptive Flights

We anticipate drone flights to become both fully automated and highly adaptive. Not only will drones be able to execute a flight without human intervention, but map processing, analyzing, and reporting will become largely automated as well. Construction pros can expect a day where pre-scheduled site safety checks and stockpile analysis reports will be ready and waiting when they need them.

Machine learning will also make drone flights adaptive and agile. UAVs will independently make in-flight adjustments to maneuver around obstacles, guarantee good image quality, and route the drone for a second pass when necessary.

“By knowing about the data collected, AI can benefit users as it gets to know what customers want to do with it. And machine learning will enable instant decisions during the drone’s flight.” — Nick Pilkington, CTO at DroneDeploy


Drone-generated point clouds can be integrated with BIM software to produce high-quality models for virtual site planning and design. Soon the integrations will be seamless, and largely automated.

Seamless Integration with Building Information Software

Construction professionals already leverage drone-generated point clouds in BIM software, but this still takes human intervention at every step. Wouldn’t your time be better spent putting data into action, rather than sitting behind a computer exporting and importing drone models? We envision a future in which the entire process — from takeoff and data collection, to BIM integration, to report generation — is automated.

BIM integration will simplify progress tracking, reduce project execution inefficiencies, and help make recommendations of what a project needs to stay on track. All with the push of a few buttons.

Highly Accurate and AI-fueled Maps

As companies integrate drones on every job site and across even more workflows, human interaction at every step of the way will no longer be scalable. Computers must learn what construction professionals are looking for in their drone data.

“Having the largest dataset of imagery put us in a position to build the best machine products. If we know what our customers are trying to do with their data we can help replace the tasks that are tedious, difficult or error prone with machine learning” — Nicholas Pilkington, CTO at DroneDeploy


Machine learning will provide automatic workflows for measuring and reporting accurate stockpile volumes.

But have no fear. Advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence are keeping pace with this need. In the near future, machine learning and AI will help drones identify objects and ground control points (GCPs) on site, automatically assess aggregate stockpile volumes, and make on-site measurements with centimeter-level precision.


Machine learning algorithms will automatically identify ground control points in seconds.

The future of drones in construction is bright. And we’re just seeing the beginning of what’s possible. As drones continue to take flight in construction, one thing is certain: we are well on our way to a time when a drone is as ubiquitous, and as indispensable, as any other tool on a job site.

We’re ready for it. Are you?

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.

*Disclaimer: You must be a licensed surveyor to designate a map as survey-grade.



Drones and the Job Sites of the Future was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.



Addison at Rossview Apartments Live Map by Shawn Woodson

One week left to share your Live Maps in the #LiveMapChallenge and enter to win a DJI Mavic Pro.

Sound the horns! We’re in the final week of our #LiveMapChallenge. In case you didn’t hear the news, we just released our real-time mapping tool, Live Map. You can now create drone maps instantly with your iPad or iPhone — no internet connection required.

So, dust off your drone and give our newest tool a shot by participating in the #LiveMapChallenge. As if real-time mapping wasn’t exciting enough, all participants get the chance to win a DJI Mavic Pro drone and a DroneDeploy swag package.

There have already been some exciting entries, and we’d like to share some of our favorites with the DroneDeploy community. These maps are a testiment to the capabilities of Live Map. Check these out and then take to the skies and make one yourself.

Need a refresh on the rules?

To join in on our #LiveMapChallenge, follow these rules:

  1. Make a Live Map between February 15, 2018 and March 15, 2018.
  2. Share your Live Map shareable link with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
  3. Tag DroneDeploy and use the hashtag #LiveMapChallenge.
  4. There is no limit as to how many times you can enter. In fact, we encourage you to go out there and make as many Live Maps as you can! For every Live Map you share, your chances of winning the grand prize increases.

Here are the #LiveMapChallenge’s full terms and conditions.

We want you to bring us your best mapping skills. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered in our Getting Started with Live Map blog post.


Construction site Live Map by Shaun MacWilliams.

Live Map of runoff basin after a snowmelt by Northern Illinois Vertical Data.

Live Map of field by Chad Colby.

Where to Learn More

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visitwww.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 Final Countdown was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Drone-based roofing solutions offer accuracy, safety, and speed for roof measurement and inspection

If you work in the solar, insurance, or roofing industries, chances are that you’ve heard about drones. You might even be thinking about purchasing one. And for a good reason: the latest advances in drone technology are fundamentally changing the way you can measure and inspect roofs.

Not only are drones safer and more accurate than manual roof measurement and inspection, but the latest drone-based roofing solutions, like Roof Report from DroneDeploy, deliver a far richer set of data to streamline your workflow. And as if that wasn’t enough, all of this is accomplished at least 3X faster than traditional methods.

Read on to learn why drones are quickly becoming the go-to tool for roof inspections.

Drone Inspections Improve the Accuracy and Consistency of Rooftop Measurements

From twisted tape measures to inconsistent endpoint selection, to inaccessible edges, it’s difficult to maintain accuracy and consistency within a set of rooftop measurements.

But where human ability falls short, machine learning now picks up the slack. Solutions like Roof Report use the latest advances in drone mapping technology to take accurate measurements of square footage, roof features, pitch, surface area, and slope in a matter of minutes. And rigorous tests have shown these measurements to be consistently 99.4% accurate.

No more worrying about inaccurate data or having to return to a site to gather missed information. The solution uses a set protocol for selecting endpoints, so measurements are complete and consistent throughout an entire project.

Drones are a Safer, Cost-Effective Alternative to Boots-on-the-Roof

Falls are the leading cause of death on industrial job sites. With drones, you reduce, and in some cases eliminate, the need for ladder assists and boots-on-the-roof data collection.

The Beck Group — a Dallas-based commercial architecture and construction company — uses drones to perform remote roof inspections and cut the amount of time employees spend in dangerous areas. As Grant Hagen points out, if he can reduce time spent on a roof by three hours, that’s three hours an employee is on the ground and out of harm’s way.

“Any time you can limit putting your staff in a dangerous situation, it’s a win.” — Grant Hagen, VDC Manager at the Beck Group.

Drone Technology Delivers a Rich Dataset and Powerful Return-on-Investment

Drones are a far faster and more cost-effective way to gather information and turn it into actionable data. In fact, end-to-end drone solutions have proven to be at least three times faster than traditional methods.

But the return-on-investment for drones on rooftops goes beyond just the savings in time and human resources. Drones deliver a far more productive set of data compared to what can be gathered by manual measurement.

Drone mapping doesn’t just deliver data on roof planes, slopes, and areas. A detailed point cloud captures the entirety of the roof in high-resolution detail, giving a powerful set of data to residential and commercial roofers, solar installers, and anyone looking to do design work on top of drone-based roof data. And all of this data is readily shareable in a variety of export formats so that you can integrate it with your favorite industry tools.

Roof Report From DroneDeploy is an End-to-End Solution for Roofing, Insurance, and Solar

Roof Report from DroneDeploy is a drone-based inspection and measurement solutions. Professionals in industries like roofing, insurance, and solar can now use a single tool to collect drone imagery and generate accurate roof measurements and reports in a matter of hours.

“We’ve been working closely with some of the largest solar and insurance companies in North America to bring our customers a reliable and accurate drone roofing solution,” says Mike Winn, CEO of DroneDeploy.

https://medium.com/media/383e330b6dfc68a39e9faea5e9780672/href

Benefits of Roof Report From DroneDeploy

  • Automate the collection of high-resolution roof imagery
  • Generate accurate roof reports with the click of a button
  • Take consistent, accurate measurements of square footage, roof features, pitch, surface area, and slope
  • Access a PDF file for easy sharing and collaboration
  • Export a roof geometry DXF file compatible with your existing tools for CAD analysis and design
  • 3X faster than traditional methods
  • Collect data in a consistent, repeatable way

Where to Learn More

For an overview of the new Roof Report from DroneDeploy, as well as best flight practices for capturing roof imagery, be sure to read the product announcement.

To dive more deeply into the topic of drones for roof inspection and measurement, view our recent webinar: Aerial Roof Inspections with Drones.

  • Drones are becoming an essential tool for insurance claims. Learn why in this post.
  • Drones helped insurance inspectors improve safety, gather better data, and jumpstart efforts to rebuild an island hard-hit by disaster after Hurricane Irma. Read the full story 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.



Drone Roof Inspections: What You Need to Know was originally published in DroneDeploy’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.