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About Me

Found 17 results

  1. On the heels of a $170 million fundraise led by Andreessen Horowitz, drone maker Skydio is taking off. Over the last two weeks, I’ve tested their latest model, the Skydio 2, with off-the-shelf software and its Cinema Kit accessories. In this post, I’ll review Skydio 2’s hardware and compare it with similar DJI products. In a subsequent article, come back as I delve into Skydio's software capabilities. What I reviewed: Skydio 2 with Cinema Kit The drone itself retails for $999 and comes with the drone, a battery, a basic charger, and the ability to control the drone using the off-the-shelf software (which is available for both Android or iOS). The Cinema Kit costs an additional $900 and gives you additional hardware such as a controller, beacon, filers, an additional hardshell case, and filters you can use on the camera. The $999 starting price plus $900 extra for the Cinema Kit is in the normal range for drones of this type. For example: the Mavic Pro with “Fly More” package, similar to the Skydio Cinema Kit, will cost you about $1,800 total. From a regular drone user perspective, the price point shouldn’t scare you. I tried to get a hold of Skydio to test out the enterprise software (which costs $1,500 per month), but no one responded to my inquiries, so I used the off-the-shelf software. Skydio 2 basic facts overview The Skydio 2 hits all the basics that experienced drone users would expect. Weight: The Skydio 2 weighs 775 grams, a typical consumer drone weight. Body structure: The Skydio 2 drone is a quadcopter style drone, meaning it has propellers on each corner of the body (a common design for drones). Speed: It can reach speeds of over 36 mph, which is faster than most non-racing drones (including the DJI Mavic Pro). Flight time: It can fly for more than 20 minutes straight, which is about average for high quality consumer drones. Operation temperature range: The Skydio 2 can operate in -5C to 40C (23F to 104F), which is fairly typical for quadcopter drones. Cameras: The Skydio 2 has six 4k cameras offering 45 megapixels, which is industry-leading camera quality. Skydio 2 pros Here’s what stuck out to me about the basic drone package: On-board obstacle avoidance: The Skydio 2 does a great job with flying autonomy. The drone has six 4k cameras, giving it an all-around view of its surroundings. From there, the drone uses the NVIDIA graphics cards to analyze images coming in from the drone at incredibly fast speeds. The result is efficient, automatic obstacle avoidance, making it easy to focus on taking pictures instead of avoiding a crash. This can be especially helpful for solar contractors when navigating trees or dealing with high winds, since the drone does a lot of the work for you. Camera quality: While the drone only uses the front 4k camera for images (the remaining five cameras are for obstacle avoidance), it’s very high quality and will give you crisp, clear pictures even as the drone zig-zags around obstacles. Based on my experience with multiple drones, the 4k camera is on par with a Mavic Pro 2, better than a Mavic Air 2 and much better than a Mavic Mini 2. High-quality look and feel: Despite there being tons of small pieces (cameras, propellers, etc.), everything fits together seamlessly. Nothing rattled as I moved the drone around and detachable elements have solid-feeling locks with quick-release pieces for convenience. Further, all the pieces fit tightly and seamlessly together, giving it an overall premium feel that felt good in my hands as I took it out of the box. The Cinema Kit added a few other pros to the mix: Beacon: Similar to a GPS tracker, the beacon allows you to fly the drone without the controller or your phone. It’s especially helpful for live action tracking (like sports). However, I don’t see it having a huge impact outside of that use case. Filters: The Polar Pro filters that came with the drone’s cinema kit are high quality and are incredibly helpful for managing light exposure for images on bright or cloudy days, something especially helpful for solar contractors that work in multiple different environments. They have a magnetic attachment method that easily snaps onto the lens of the Skydio 2, which makes them easy to use for anyone. The other accessories that come in the Cinema Kit - such as a memory card and microfiber cloth - were normal and worked as they should. No complaints, and nothing that would negatively impact a solar contractor. Skydio 2 cons Despite being high quality, there were a few downsides to the drone’s hardware. The drone is not foldable: The Skydio 2 is fairly big (223 x 273 x 74 mm (L x W x H)) and doesn’t fold. By comparison, the DJI Mavic Air is almost half the size at 168 x 184 x 64 mm and folds to get even smaller. As a solar contractor travelling from site to site, this size could get fairly cumbersome. Magnetic battery: The battery only has a magnetic attachment to the bottom of the drone - you don’t clip it in anywhere. To me, it seems like a bad idea to have the battery not clipped in as it could fall off during flight. However, there were no problems during my test flights. So this is less of a “con” so much a bit confusing based on my previous drone experience. A bit bulky: The size of the whole thing (including the carrying case) felt big and clunky compared to what I’m used to with other drones. However, if you are driving around instead of walking, it fits easily in the back seat or on the floor in the passenger side. And in the Cinema Kit: Controller: Skydio partnered with Parrot to create this controller. At first, it felt kind of cheap in my hands - as if it might break if I held it too tightly. It worked well in my test flights, but left me with potential concerns for extended use in the field as a solar contractor. Multi-charger: The multi-charger can only charge two batteries and the controller (or three batteries and no controller) at once. This is limiting compared to the DJI Mavic dock which can charge three batteries and the controller. The next step: software The Skydio 2 stands out against competitors due to the company’s focus on self-flying and obstacle avoidance. All of the features above, in particular the cameras, are geared towards the drone all but flying itself. In short, it’s like having all of Tesla’s self-driving capabilities, but in a drone. Flying the Skydio 2 drone was a lot of fun with the on-board obstacle avoidance features, and the hardware offers a broadly premium experience. In part 2 of my review, I’ll dive more into the software that powers the drone and share my opinions and experiences. I’ll also give my final recommendation on whether I think people should buy the Skydio 2 drone for solar contract work.
  2. Hi Everyone, My name is Arnaud, French IT engineer expatriate in Indonesia and happy owner of drone company services. Almost 4 Years ago, I decided to change my life, so I left my country and made my first company: BaliDroneProduction specialized in video and photography production. I provide services for toursim and sports activities, Real estate shooting, Tv commercial, special event as live music and wedding, search and rescue etc... I started with my phantom 3 pro and now I have a fleet of 7 drones like: dji mavic air, mavic 2 zoom & pro, Inspire 2, matrice 600pro. We are lucky because Indonesia is still free enough to fly drones, that is why we try as much as possible to comply with the laws and educate tourists who wish to fly their craft during their vacation. If you are curious about the Indonesian law I invite you to read my article about this : Bali Drone Laws – Official Guide 2020 – How to fly drone in Indonesia and if you have 5 minutes don't forget to visit our website Couple of months ago, I started a new adventure: the High-end drone mapping service with LiDAR. I am now a happy owner of laser scanning device named Yellowscan vx-15 equipped with the famous minivux-uav1 sensor from Riegl. So to avoid confusion for my clients I decided to split the mapping activities from the Video production services, so I made the new branch MSDI : 3D mapping services, LiDAR, Survey, Photogrammetry, 3D modeling, Assets inspection, Oil & GAS, Mining, Archaeology, Civil Engineering, forestry. I will be very glad if I can share information with people who need on this forum, so do not hesitate to contact if this is the new website if you want to take a look : and this is my company profile Stay safe guys and happy flying Arnaud
  3. hello guys, I am new to Aerial Mapping and i would like to know; The basic things or information one must have in relation to Aerial Surveys All the possible Deliverables one can get from an Aerial Survey The best softwares for producing the deliverables. any other information will be appreciated.
  4. Hello everyone, I am a marketing associate for a new drone manufacturing start up called Rex Robotics based in Naperville Illinois. I made a survey to get a better understanding about drones and pilots to see how we can make our drone one that fellow pilots would love! If you have the time, please take a few minutes to fill out this brief survey. Survey link: Thanks, Sean
  5. Hello I have been flying a phantom 4 pro for my surveying company for about 2 years. I want to start flying a fixed wing drone now. Has anyone here built there own and can give me some advice? I am just now starting to dig into all the components that I will need and it is a bit overwhelming.
  6. very excited about learning to fly, Hoping to venture into a career change as I get older and hopefully wiser. I have flown a mavic pro and a Inspir 1 under the supervision of a 107 pilot. I loved it! looking for others who I can learn from and just enjoy the ride (from the ground of course). I am taking the 107 test Friday the 17th of Aug.2018....I feel very confident because I invested in a course from, I have also taken multiple practice test and have performed very well, so here goes!!!
  7. Hi Guys, Does anyone know of an EMR meter that can be mounted onto a drone to carry out Electro magnetic radiation (EMR) aka EMF surveys or mapping on cell towers, radio towers, antennas, etc? Thanks in advance.
  8. Is This Legal? This thread is intended to develop and discuss key points on whats needed to provide data to surveyors and engineers. The Nuts and Bolts of the question "Land surveyor license needed?" I've been involved in the thread "Licensed Surveyor License Needed" and my personal intro thread that discussed integrating drones into my day to day duties as a Survey Tech. I use an Inspire 1 Pro with an X3 camera with an Ipad Pro and have employed it on over 60 projects from 1 acre plots to a 21 mile by 2000' corridor project over the past year with great success. On my intro thread, I stated that if anyone had any questions regarding drones and surveying, to drop me a line or call me and I'd share any and all info I've accumulated over the past several years of experience as a drone pilot in the survey industry. That still stands and I am eager to help where I can. It turns out that a lot of you are interested in generating survey/engineering deliverable/products and have questions about all aspects of the process. Lately, I've received questions from several guys asking the same questions and I want to take the time to clear the air and give some input on the most common and most important questions I've fielded over the past year. Its also worth noting that everyone thats contacted me regarding this topic was not a licensed surveyor or a licensed photogrammetrist. Just regular guys trying to figure this out. Also worth noting, I am not a lawyer and my thoughts and opinions stated hereon are intended to be for reference only and is not intended to be legal advice. I'm wading through the same struggles that you are, I'm just a few years ahead of most and have a lot of insider experience. I tell the guys that call me, "if you want to live on the bleeding edge of technology, your going to bleed". I am no exception to that saying and hope this thread can be your proverbial band-aid to some of your issues. In order to accomplish this task (producing products for surveyors and engineers) and maintain clients and grow your business, you must have a great understanding of state law, FAA Regulations and Authorizations, UAS Piloting, Weather Conditions, AutoCad, Photogrammetric Methods, and the most fun, Geodesy and Map Projections. Sure you can buy a Phantom, take some pictures, upload them to a cloud based processing firm, and deliver that, but I'm here to tell you that you're going to fall short and your data will be unreliable and not reproducible, which is a deal breaker for surveyors. Cloud based processing firms can serve as a useful tool for some products, but the products that pays the bills will come from in-house processing. Personally, I use a fire breathing processing machine and Pix4d to produce 100% of my deliverable. I'm just going to jump right in with the most important question you need to ask yourself. Q: Is it legal to produce data for surveyors and engineers? A: This is a loaded question that does not have one answer. It depends on which state you intend on working. You need to research your states statutes and determine if there is a Photogrammetry license in your state. I live in Idaho and there is no such license. But, there is a Photogrammetry license in Oregon. This means that in Oregon, if you're caught producing "photogrammetric data that is intended to be used for measurements" (orthos, ortho-planes, contours, volumes, etc.), you can get sued for providing a professional service without being licensed. If you get sued, your drone insurance is not going to cover it. You need professional liability insurance, which is not available unless you are licensed by the state. So, first look up your state laws on photogrammetry and if you find nothing, look up the laws for surveying. In Idaho, the word "photo" is only mentioned a few times in the state code for surveying. A couple times for photo ID and once for photogrammetry. The one mention of photogrammetry basically says that surveyors can employing a variety of methods to generate measurements, one of which being photogrammetry. That's it. This means that there are no state laws that prohibits or restricts what Billy Bob's Drone Services can provide, or to whom he can provide them to. Oregon on the other hand is very different. This varies greatly from state to state, so do your due diligence. In the more strict states, the key phrasing that you need to be looking for is "responsible charge". The best way of explaining this is to run a scenario. The field guys that work for a PLS are "under the responsible charge" of the PLS because they are employees of the PLS. If you're providing a service or product that measurements are intended to be generated from as an independent contractor, your business, by nature, is not directly overseen by the responsible charge of a PLS, unless you have one on staff. In which case, you'd be providing a stamped product. But 99% of you are not licensed nor have a PLS on staff. That's why we're talking about this. If you find yourself trying to conduct business in a state where photogrammetry is blanketed by the survey license or a photogrammetry license, you've found yourself between a legal rock and a hard place. I am in a unique positions as I work for a PLS and am eligible to become licensed, as of last April. But for the vast majority of you, you are not a PLS and have no intent on becoming such. You might be saying, "well if I'm generating survey grade data, I'm going to be working very closely with the surveyor and he's going to be deeply involved in what I'm doing". That doesn't cut it in terms of the law. Its my understanding that by virtue of the fact that you are conducting business as an independent contractor, you are not under the responsible charge of the clients PLS. The only way I can see this working is if you become a temporary employee of the PLS. In essence, the PLS would be hiring you as a specialist field crew member that has all the authorizations and FAA requirements dealt with and has his own equipment to collect data for a specific project. Once the product has been developed, the terms of your employment would end. So... First things first. Is it legal to do what you want to do in your state? This is the most important question you can ask yourself before you develop a business plan for your drone business. I look forward to continuing this thread with anyone thats interested in voicing their opinions and questions. Its my goal for this thread to cover specific questions as it pertains to this profession. As more questions arise, I intend on heading each question topic with a big, bold header like I've done on this on. (Is This Legal) As always, I'm available and willing to talk to any and all regarding drones and surveying. Feel free to drop me a line. And above all, Safe Flying! Best regards, Dan Inloes
  9. Hi from the Atlanta Georgia area. Just got my temp certificate. As part of my day job I use ground based laser scanners, so hope to supplement that with drone footage from a Phantom 4 or Inspire eventually. I also will be getting a Mavic of my own to use at weekends, my goal is to make videos of national, state and local parks just for fun. I have a land survey background so may eventually branch out, but that's a long way away for now. I'm hoping I'll learn a lot of the admin portion here, such as how to get flying permissions in the many restricted airspaces in my area.
  10. Hello everyone! I work in surveying company and now we are thinking about start working with drones. Our daily tasks are: cadastral surveying and site surveying ( for voluem calculation and topography). Also we work in close coloboration with local urban departament, one of the future projects is creating of 3D model of Town. We chosed Photoscan as photogrammetry software, but still don't know what we should choose results analisis. We found two porducts with features that we need: Virtual Surveyor and Sputnik GIS What do you think about each? Do anyone have an expirience of working with Virtual Surveyor or Sputnik GIS? Any advices?
  11. I am looking for advice on building a water surface drone for bay and estuary survey. This would not be different from a mapping aerial drone, except it doesn't have to fly. A large battery is no problem, so all day observations could easily be made. Requirements: FPV, gps, camera--[the GoPro Hero 4 has been recommended], possibly collision avoidance--[fishermen's nets, their canoes, mangroves, etc], controller with Large monitor screen, gps grid overlay, pre-programmed waypoint following required, radius of survey away from controller not to exceed one mile--- more likely a hundred to a few hundred meters, a depth sounder capable of storing gps position, time and depth --either on a S/B card, or internally for later transfer with cable to computer. Depths usually in the less than 100 meter range-- the majority in the 2 to 20 meter range Making the floats, installing the equipment is the easy part-- I have no idea where to buy the component parts, or exactly WHAT to buy. Propulsion would be through a twin screw servo motors, [ one in each of the mini catamaran hulls], as well as dual rudder control. Operating speed 4 knots, [8 m/sec], would be ideal. This could be accomplished with two servo 12 vdc motor turning the correct rpm. Variable rpm required. The camera would be mounted about 4 feet above the water to reduce spray effect. the hulls would each be about 4 inches in beam, [with overall beam of 4 feet], and max of 6 to 8 inches depth, and about 8 feet long. A very easily driven hull form for minimum resistance. the electric/electronic components would be housed in a small water tight pod about 18 inches above the water. Recording would be done in less than 18 knots of wind, preferably less than 10 knots. Wave formation would then not be a problem. The mother boat is a 21 foot survey/utility boat now operating in survey work as was done a hundred years ago--- I wish to update, simplify, and reduce errors--[mostly human], in this survey activity. Any help is more than welcome-- Alan Perleman has been very patient in answering my questions, but has referred me to this forum hoping to find someone who has the answers. Thanks in advance, Don Cameron . email: I am in the Philippines which limits my options for the acquisition of reliable information and the purchase of the components. I have no problem in the assembly of this project----dc
  12. I thought this was an insightful piece published in Point of Beginning September issue. It is definitely worth a read before charging head-first into the industry.
  13. Hello All I wanted guidance on how to begin with land surveying using drones.I wanted guidance on any software needed to capture and process the data collected by drones and do the respective mapping.Kindly guide me with same.Thanks to all
  14. Hey again guys. The moment is finally here. We are obtaining our certifications and in search of jobs. Because this market is "new", in a sense, what is the "standard" or ball park pricing we are charging for different services. (Yes there are many). We can say it's based upon location, experience, demand. Yes those all play a role. However, at the moment it's hard to justify pricing. Simply because there isn't much in this industry just yet. For myself, I'm starting off shooting real estate and exteriors for builders. What did photographers charge who shot out of a helicopter? Or what are you guys, and girls, basing your pricing off of to justify to your clients (in whatever area you may service)? Eventually our competition will be charging so low it'll be insane, but what is the standard at the moment to make the majority of the clients agree? Any input is appreciated! -Wash
  15. Just joined. I am a retired surveyor interested in the use of drones for the inspection of high buildings and structures; also in connection with ground survey. Looking to learn and welcoming tips and advice Waiting for delivery of a Hubsan 502S
  16. So, i am working on getting my drone business off the ground (wink, wink). I would like to specialize in aerial surveys, and inspections. My question is, how do i get my finger on the pulse of my city to see how much demand there is out there. I would love to grow this business to have multiple pilots running multiple drones each day to collect data, eventually. I am not sure where to start learning about the opportunities in my market and getting my foot in the door. Any help would be appreciated.
  17. Hi everyone! Sharing results from a recent study we conducted on U.S. drone regulations. I know a lot of you took part, and I wanted to personally thank you for your engagement. I was blown away with how many responses we got and think the insights from the survey are pretty telling of where we're at right now. Looking forward to your comments: