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Everything posted by Jazee

  1. Selling my Flir Vue Pro 640. Almost exactly same field of view as the stock Phantom 4 Pro RGB Camera (9mm vs 8.8mm). Including the regulator for independent external power, battery and GoPro style adjustable mount. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Flir-Vue-Pro-640-30-Hz-9mm-436-0016-00-Infrared-Thermal-Drone-Camera/224248625658
  2. Micasense RedEdge M Multispectral Camera. Works like new. Complete. https://www.ebay.com/itm/MicaSense-RedEdge-M-Multi-spectral-Drone-Camera-Complete-Excellent-Spectrum/224203801838
  3. So what do you think would be a fair cost to charge for travel time in cases like this when the travel time can be 2, 3 or even 4 times the onsite time? Let's say your rate is $225/hour and you have a job that will take 2 hours of onsite time (assume no post processing). That's $450 total. But let's assume the job is 2.5 hours drive away, 150 miles. So 300 miles total, 5 hours total travel time. The standard mileage rate is currently $0.58/mile - so by that rate, the travel time charge would be $174, or effectively $35/hour. This per mile rate is suppose to compensate for all costs of operating the vehicle, including fuel. I know in the consulting industry, consultants charge their full hourly rate during the portion of the travel they can work on your project (sitting in a plane or train). The travel time they aren't working, I've heard typically they charge half their hourly rate. This is because while they are traveling, when they can't work, that is downtime caused by the project that prevents them from otherwise working and making their full hourly rate. If your standard rate is $225/hour and onsite is 2 hours and travel is 5 hours for the job, let's do the math... $450 + $174 = $624 divided by 7 hours total of your time = $89/hour. Note, this travel time is traveling at freeway speeds. Travel in a crowded city, it could take you an hour to go 30 miles - so at the mileage rate, while you were in your car, you would be making $17.40 an hour. So an effective $89/hour for this hypothetical job is on the high side using the standard mileage rate. $89/hour doesn't sound that bad but that's just gross revenue and not including cost of equipment depreciation, insurance, advertising, software, and on and on and on. Similarly, if you have to fly, you might charge for your airfare, hotel, rental car, and mileage. But if you are flying, including time spent in airports and rental car counters, you are probably spending a good part of a day (4-8) hours traveling which is time you can't spend onsite during another job at $225/hr. So seems to me, charging the mileage rate and/or actual travel costs without factoring in any value for your time spent traveling is shooting yourself in the foot as for every hour you are spending driving you are making $17-$35/hr instead of spending that time onsite at a second closer job at $225/hr. One might argue assuming you have the option to do a second job during that time is not realistic. Better to make $17-$35/hr driving to a job than nothing at all but that time could be used for other valuable activities like networking with potential large clients. So what do you think would be a fair cost to charge for travel time in cases like this when the travel time can be 2, 3 or even 4 times the onsite time?
  4. @MyrtleDrone you can enter the coordinates for the base station. It's done in the controller app not the base station. I'm surprised you have a P4RTK and you didn't know you could do that? Very understandable though since DJI did a complete fail on the documentation. Users around the Internet have had to discover how to do a lot of things and share the workflow since so much is missing in the P4RTK documentation. The other myth is you cant use a 4G dongle on the base station because DJI never released one. The known coordinates of the base station can be entered under Main Screen > FLY > ... > RTK Settings > Advanced Settings > GNSS Coordinate Input. Secondly, the P4RTK does not add any significant degree of accuracy over using an appropriate number of GCPs. Many people with a P4RTK use both, they use the GCPs to check the accuracy of the P4RTK photogrammetry output. This is completely unecessary as you can just use the GCPs alone in the processing and still get the same accuracy with a drone that doesn't have RTK. https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2019/01/31/dji-phantom-4-rtk-accuracy-confirmed "With the Phantom 4 RTK, 1.20cm relative horizontal accuracy was achieved. With the Phantom 4 Pro and GCPs, 0.90cm relative horizontal accuracy was achieved." So GCP only was actually MORE accurate than RTK in this case. So the P4RTK offers no real benefit in my opinion if you are already laying down an adequate number of ground control points. If you don't have GCPs, and no known point to place the base station on, in theory, the RTK could provide better *RELATIVE* position accuracy between the geocoordinates that are embedded in the image files resulting in a more accurate photogrammetry output, BUT, it would still have a large error regarding absolute coordinates. However, it would probably be rare that someone wants cm level "survey grade" accuracy when the absolute accuracy of the coordinates is off buy as much as 150 cm (horizontal) and much more shift vertical. Really in my opinion, the only benefit for the P4RTK is to improve accuracy in cases where GCPs are not being used for whatever reason. However for that to work you need at least one known point or you need to do PPK using a remote base station. If you want to see someone pull their hair out, watch them try to do PPK for the first time with remote base station data. Then you also have the issue of losing the FIXED connection status during a flight when using RTK - it is quite common to happen for a number of reasons. You just have to hope a high enough percentages of the images were taken while the RTK had a FIX with the base station as opposed to FLOAT. But that's a whole other issue for discussion. I believe the P4RTK, for most applications, is completely unecessary. A lot of the buzz comes from potential users that lack a full understanding of the limitations.. well I heard RTK is "really good", and it costs a lot of money, it MUST be better! (The case with a lot of products out there being marketed to people.) The only real benefit is to not have to lay down GCPs and just trust it is more accurate. Otherwise, you'll get just as good of accuracy laying down the adequate GCPs and using a regular Phantom 4 Pro and incorporating the GCPs into your processing.
  5. I am now wondering how many pilots out there are using a P4RTK and setting the base station up without known coordinates or ground control points and not realizing they are only getting increased accuracy RELATIVE to the base station position and the ABSOLUTE world coordinates are still shifted by typically 1-3 meters (X/Y plane) and much higher shift for the Z (elevation) plane?
  6. I've seen tests where only using GCPs versus only using RTK (with base on known point) the GCP method was actually a little more accurate (when doing ground check with additional GCPs not used during processing.) If someone is being sent out to establish GCPs having them mark a few more than you would if you were using the P4RTK is not that time consuming. Doesn't seem like a very wise allocation of financial resources to pay 6 times more for the P4RTK, just going to take more jobs to pay it off while gaining a modestly more efficient workflow, unless you were doing quite a few jobs a month. The latest manuals for the P4RTK actually don't include instructions for setting static coordinates for the base station, nor connecting to an NTRIP caster. It seems a lot of pilot with very limited knowledge just latch on to the term 'RTK' and what they've read thinking it's got to be 'better' especially if it costs that much more.
  7. So I watched 4 videos and read a couple how to's and looked at the User Manuals regarding the Phantom 4 RTK and the associated base station. I'm sort of having a hard time believing what I'm seeing/reading.... Nothing I've seen or read shows the ability to place the base station on a control point with known coordinates and enter those coordinates into the base station (or remote controller). This means, while the P4 RTK will have phenomenal position accuracy relative to the base station, there will still be a high degree of error for the absolute world position coordinates. Everything I've seen and read proposes two solutions: 1. Use ground control points, which is laughable as to me the purpose of investing in an RTK drone is to eliminate the need to do that except to do an accuracy check without including the control points in the processing. 2. Connect the remove to a "Custom RTK Network" (term used in the Ground Station interface) which means you don't even use the base station! 3. Use PPK in which case you don't use the base station and you turn the RTK function OFF! Of the three above solutions, #2 is the "cleanest" as #1 you don't need an RTK drone for and #3, from what I've read the PPK workflow is pretty involved. Does anyone know regarding #2 what the process is to find appropriate server credentials to input in (flying in the United States?)
  8. I was talking to a pilot the other day who had a crash where he was flying in Arizona, it was 96 out (stated ambient operating temp of the Phantom 4 Pro is 104). And the Lipo expanded and ejected. He thinks it must have been due to the temps. Seems like not all LiPo batteries, even from the same manufacturer are identical so maybe it was a faulty battery? Has anyone else run into this. I'm scared now to fly my drone in anything like above 90 degrees F. I know you aren't supposed to store lipos in the fridge as you can get condensation inside but I'm wondering if anyone else that flies in hot climates briefly chills there batteries in a cooler or something while on site or has other practices specific to the hot climate such as allowing a cool down period for the drone between battery changes?
  9. Anyone attended BOTH Interdrone and ExpoUAV Americas in Las Vegas before? If so, can you comment on how they differ? More attendees from certain industries in one over the other? Different level of focus (on average) in the break out sessions? Different approach/organization/flavor yada yada.
  10. Testing a Parrot Sequoia and the RGB photos are terrible. It's not a drone speed issue as I tried even on the lowest speed setting in Pix4D Capture. When you have motion blur issues it's consistent throughout the image. This is the strangest thing I've ever seen in that it has what looks like bands of blurriness as some bands of areas like more detailed than others. Trying to determine if I have a bad RGB camera sensor. The other camera the images are consistent detail throughout the frame. This is 4 inch/pixel GSD (135 feet AGL) https://i.imgur.com/dP7bDIM.jpg I know 4 in/pixel is not very high resolution but the images look very abnormal. Again, this is flying at slowest speed setting. There was absolutely no difference in the image between the fastest and slowest setting.
  11. With maybe the exception I would imagine of the military (bases), do any other Federal Agencies (DHS for example) have authority to regulate (impose rules/laws) on where UAVs can and cannot be flown? Or do all Federal Agencies need to exert their "will" so to speak through the FAA? Note I am talking FEDERAL only. NOT state, county, or local cities.
  12. So I was curious about Dronebase and a search here brings up this thread so I'll rekindle it a bit. I noticed on their site they state back in October they stopped doing Gerry images missions. Was anyone or does anyone know anyone that was getting a significant number of Getty images missions from Dronebase prior? Did the end of the relationship cause a big decrease in possible jobs? They also state on their website they pay $70 for "Insurance Jobs" I take that to be roof inspections. It seems from the couple of really big Hurricanes in the South/Southeast over the last year or two, there was a flood of requests for drone services for roof inspections. I'm guessing Dronebase and a few other companies possibly capitalized on this. But the demand is highly variable based on storms (not that there's no demand at all when there hasn't been a storm.) But talking to a few pilots I got the sense that a bunch of pilots experienced the surge but it just exaggerated pilot expectations for future work of this type. Has Dronebase's Insurance Jobs been growing quick, steady, stagnated, or been all over the map because they are mostly tied to storm activity? Not having used the app, what's this about the payout score in the context of someone saying "likelihood of payout" Dronebase isn't actually asking pilots to run a mission that you might not get paid for (other than training missions) are they? I do know one thing Droners in general is much much more visible on the Internet than Dronebase. We all know how few and far between Droners jobs are since they've essentially created a "race to the bottom" market over there at Droners with a high Supply to Demand ratio. If Dronebase is much less visible than Droners on the Internet, they probably have a fraction of the jobs, especially after the merger with Precisionhawk and Airvid and if they have quite a few pilots, then any reports in the forums from pilots that have gotten a significant number of jobs from them may just be the exception to reality with Dronebase in my educated guess. The only exception would be if they've done "offline networking" to forge a lot of relationships with big national companies (like Getty - now a defunct relationship, and a few insurance companies probably.) The problem with that is as time goes by, the large Fortune 1000 national companies are going to be the companies most likely to take their drone operations in house eventually, if they already haven't. Also the fact that Dronebase wasn't bought out by Precisionhawk is most likely a bad sign. I doubt they turned away a sales offer thinking they could come out on top and beat the combination of Precisionhawk/Droners/Airvid. So I would assume they never got an offer because their job volume was too low and/or inconsistent. Anyone have any insight on the current status of Dronebase?
  13. Looks like enough of the FlyGuys pilots are getting tired of paying them a monthly fee for little to no jobs. I wonder how many paid a year's worth of fees to help pay for FlyGuys' online advertising and DroneDeploy/Pix4D business subscription, and didn't make their money back? Is their a no-job refund policy? This just in from the FlyGuys Pilot Newsletter... 2018 Pilot Beta Programs Based on pilot feedback, drone business support tools are still of high interest, yet paid programs are not useful before a certain mission traction is reached. So the early 2018 FlyGuys pilot programs, Standard and Plus, will be closing on December 31, 2018
  14. Well, now I want to edit my original question.... Anyone get authorization in a LAANC 0 altitude grid in CLASS B or CLASS C airspace? No luck here for 75ft about a mile from runway but not in the flight path.
  15. I want to take some Commercial Real Estate Photos at 75ft in a 0 altitude facility map section. It's about 1.2 miles from an airport runway (class C airspace) but it's not in the approach or takeoff path. Now we all know, common sense tells us, if an airplane is flying below 100 feet where there are 8 story buildings, especially if it's not in the landing or takeoff path, then you have much bigger problems than a drone. Is it impossible to get auth? Does anyone really know?
  16. Is anyone aware of tools/workflow to help classify surface features (trees, shrubs, bare ground) using RGB or Multispectral imagery (as opposed to LIDAR) as an alternative to importing an orthomosaic into a GIS program and manually identifying and mapping the surface features?
  17. Wondering what people recommend as the best free or very low cost practice tests that have the most current array of questions?
  18. Oh I see. You use a high enough resolution sensor so that you can make one pass, capturing multiple lines and then zoom in when inspecting the image to get the detail you need on the lines, insulators, and other components. Do you still use a camera with optical zoom during flight to get extreme detail on certain areas, or is the sensor resolution high enough that you can forego the necessity to use optical zoom during flight? Do you typically run an IR and RGB camera at the same time or is IR not required in many situations? It would seem to me like the IR information would be more valuable for detecting issues?
  19. A common voltage is 345,000. Let's assume that.
  20. What's a typical mission plan for power line inspections? I've read distance recommendations from 20ft to 100ft. It seems to me at 20ft, unless you are using course lock or similar, you could have issues keeping the line in the frame depending on how fast you are flying. Are most companies looking for thermal videography of the entire transmission line for a distance to identify obvious problem points and then more close visual inspection of insulators near the towers using a zoom camera? I really can't see how visual RGB images would be that useful as an insulator in the early stages of failure could look fairly normal from afar. Breaks or issues in the actual line would also not be very visible unless you could get very close-up images. Running a closeup inspection of a line for several miles would just be extremely cumbersome.
  21. Looking at a potential application where I need to measure the settlement of land over time. The land is not covered by much vegetation so photogrammetry is an option. However obviously I need at least one ground control point outside of the subject area that is on stable land (such as a survey monument). I'm looking for relative elevation accuracy within 3 inches which can be achieved by flying pretty low (Say 0.5 inch/pixel GSD). It would seem to me, with a ground control point on can "anchor" each subsequent survey to, there's no practical significant benefit to using RTK or Lidar?
  22. All these platforms like DroneDeploy, etc, allow annotation of the resulting orthomosaic output. Does anyone know of a platform that has similar functionality as far as ortho/3D processing, BUT, you can upload photos just for sharing and annotation without doing any processing on them? Seems to me you'd have to use a separate "photo sharing" site with that function?
  23. Regarding the shadows, they are not your friend if you are doing a property with a significant amount of trees close to the buildings. They can cost large areas of shadows along the sides of the structures making part of the structures well lit and others not. People's opinions on the Golden hour subject are often heavily biased by their variety of their experiences with different property settings, or lack thereof. Someone in the Northwest that shoots properties in somewhat wooded areas is going to have a different perspective than someone who shoots properties in say Arizona, or Florida - not to say no homes in Arizona and Florida have large groups of tall trees close to the structures, but it's a lot less common.
  24. There's been some discussion on the potential need for a Land Surveyor License to provide drone surveying and mapping service. I saw somewhere that recently the State of California was cracking down on this. Just got a call from an investigator from my state wanting to learn more about my surveying and mapping service. Sounded like an older guy and thereby my hunch was this was all new to him. He came across as genuinely curious, not like it was a sting operation. Coincidentally this happened shortly after we started advertising on the Internet. May have rubbed one or more existing Land Surveyors the wrong way prompting a call to our department of licensing. I explained to him that we make it explicit to all our customers that we are not land surveyors and that we just collect image data that can be used to produce things that land surveyors produce but we don't provide drafting services, and we cannot and do not certify the accuracy of our data for use in land surveying and mapping. We work with land surveyors unwilling to this point to add a drone to their toolbox, to help them and the customer save time and money. Here's the interesting gray area though. In some states I believe the law is worded to define land surveying as any service that provides spatial measurements of land. This linked in article talks about it and has actual wording from various states: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/uas-mapping-surveying-license-required-ananda-fowler/ The big unanswered question for me though is what if the customer acknowledges they aren't looking for anything very precise? Obviously, an orthomosaic photo of a land area would be okay in my mind. But what if they want a contour map that just estimates/approximates land contours for their own information and the map isn't going to be part of any deliverable certified by a land surveyor? Technically, that's still providing a service for measurement of land. So maybe the answer for now is, it depends on the state's wording and how vigorous they are going to try to enforce it or interpret it. My response was that we make it explicit to anyone we work with that we are not land surveyors and do not provide certification or any other guarantees as to the data accuracy for land surveying and mapping purposes in any situation. That is the responsibility of a licensed land surveyor that the customer chooses to work with." But what if they just want an orthomosaic with precise absolute geolocation data so we subcontract a land surveyor to lay down the ground control points, but the ortho isn't going to be used in any legal document or certified land surveying map? Same thing for something like a topo contour map. So what do people think, as long as the disclaimer is made to the customer and the deliverable, if its a map, DEM, DSM, etc, isn't used as part of a drawing stamped by a licensed surveyor without a disclaimer, is everything kosher? I talked to one licensed Land Surveyor who said it is not uncommon to include information in their drawings that are for informational purposes only and are not suitable for making measurements with "survey grade" accuracy. I really hope smaller Land Surveying outfits or individuals look at us as a boon to save them the hassle of learning to operate and maintain a drone, as opposed to being a competitor.
  25. Seems there's a "new kid on the block" for the drone pilot referral directories. Seems like there's about a half dozen of them out there. I've heard from other pilots, all these services, the supply of pilots is huge and the number of jobs posted per week is very small in most areas, even on the most prominent directories/referral services. So I got this email today from FlyGuys, it was highly unprofessional, it started out without my real first name: Hello #[Contacts.First Name} The image in the signature was broken, etc. And the email makes claims like "The number of mission inquires, as expected, is going up logarithmically and as a result of this rapidly expanding sales pipeline, booked missions are starting to happen multiple times per day." Logarithmically? What, from 2 jobs a week to 4? The thing about this FlyGuys service is unlike the other referral services, they want either $99 a month or $199 a month from you. If the job posting to pilot ratio for these services is really low, I would expect the chance you will be paying your monthly fee and getting NO JOBS is quite high. Do you get your fee refunded? No. So these Fly Guys want $1,200 to $2,400 a year where the other service want $0 unless you actually get and bill a job. This really smells like a big SCAM to me! The email goes on further to say "We are about to launch a major weapon next week. A mostly automated function to register each pilot with near 100 directories. We were already doing google, bing, now yahoo, yellow pages, +90 more... this will help our pilots' url prominence in all searches." "Major weapon?" My friend who works in the Internet Market business says basically they just signed up for a business directory submission service, there's a dozen of them, for probably a couple hundred bucks a month, and so they are really operating from a revenue standpoint more as an Internet marketing service, collecting thousands in fees and paying hundreds to use an automated directory submission service while most likely providing a small trickle of jobs to select pilots or for pilots to all fight over. Has anyone actually signed up for this service? How long have you been with them? What kind of jobs did you get? What area of the country are you in? Which affiliate are you? I'm really afraid this is a scam that many pilots may fall for. There are free ways to get your business listed in directories and you risk paying out lots of money with no jobs referred to you.