App Provides Real-Time Mapping Information From Drone Surveys
A San Francisco-based software company that develops 2D and 3D mapping applications exclusively for DJI, the world’s largest manufacturer of civilian drones, says its app can download surveying information “on the fly.”
DroneDeploy co-founder Jono Millin says his company’s recently released Fieldscanner allows for real-time downloads of maps to an iPad or iPhone without cellular or broadband service.
“This product provides real-time information critical to those managing construction projects,” says Millin. “We are the first to have real-time stitching capability, there is no need to take the data off an SD card.”
Millin says Fieldscanner takes a fusion of all the sensor data off the drone—GPS, photos, and video—to create a map in real-time. By having instant access to information project managers and engineers can react to discrepancies or anomalies more quickly.
Mathew Forster, a project engineer with Atlanta-based Choate says that Fieldscanner saved him considerable time while working on a 557,553 sq-ft manufacturing plant in Chesterfield, Va.
“Using their application, it took me 15 minutes to fly my DJI drone to survey the site in real-time to determine what 3D mapping I needed, which I did during that same flight,” he says. “Then it was as simple as downloading the memory card to the Drone Deploy website in order to create my 3D map of the entire site that provided the accurate measurements I needed to estimate how many cubic yards of dirt I needed to move.”
He says it was a faster and more efficient alternative to hiring a third party that would takes several weeks to conduct a site survey.
“We could create high-resolution maps to overlay with infrastructure plans such as utility, wastewater, and communication as well as measure distance, area, and volumes on any device,” Forster says.
Currently, DroneDeploy’s 2D mapping can be rendered instantly, but only in low-resolution images which do not allow for volumetric calculations. Alternatively, high-resolution with more accurate data can be rendered in 3D, and although slower, allows for volumetric calculations, site surveys and integrating drone 3D models with BIM software.
Millin adds that as a software company, DroneDeploy takes off-the-shelf drones—such as the entry-level models manufactured by DJI—and turns them into tools fit for project managers. The drone software can also benefit surveyors and agricultural managers by giving their drones the capability to capture images and convert them into 2D and 3D models, while providing useful analytics. Millin says an example of the latter is using machine learning i the software to determine how many trees are in an orchard, rather than having to count them manually. He adds providing services to the construction and surveying industries makes up nearly half of his business.
Millin says that Fieldscanner is another asset in helping people better understand the world by radically increasing the speed of decision-making. “For project managers, architects and engineers it is another tool in the tool belt,” he says.