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The drone mission is complete, you’re back at the office and everyone is very excited to see the captured imagery and … oh no! … the data is no good! It didn’t capture the required area or … the images are out of focus or … the images won’t stitch together etc. etc.
Has this ever happened to you? Don’t worry; it is a common problem that can be easily explained.
So why does this happen?
Well, most people think the ability to fly the drone is the most important skill when operating drones. Don’t get me wrong, it is vitally important (especially if you need to get yourself out of trouble in flight!), but it doesn’t automatically give you the image quality you need.
This is where the selection of the right payload sensor (camera), software (flight planning, image capture and post-processing) and the ability and knowledge to calibrate these systems comes into play.
If you don’t have the right camera or you’re unable to calibrate it to match the light conditions at the time of flight, then you’re not going to get the required image quality.
If you’re a bit unsure how to program the software to automatically capture the flight images, then the drone probably won’t deliver good data. Does it meet resolution tolerance? … has it the necessary overlap for stitching? … am I flying at the best height to capture these requirements? etc.
How about the best post-production software for your needs? … or how to operate this software? If you’re unsure, then you’ll probably be unable to edit the images or stitch them together to get the required crisp image or orthomosaic.
All of these issues need to be addressed to ensure your drone system captures and delivers the required data for your needs.
So how do you do this?
Well, as a starter we recommend you get professional advice on the right drone system for you needs. This includes not only the drone and the camera, but also the flight planning, image capture and post-production software.
From there, we recommend you get education and training on the drone system … especially if you are going to operate the drone systems in-house. This education and training program is recommended even if you engage a professional drone operator. After all, it’s best to be an “informed purchaser” when procuring 3rd party services for your work needs.
So before you get the drones in the air, make sure this risk of ‘dud data’ has been appropriately managed … otherwise the benefit of obtaining this unique and rewarding drone information may be fruitless.
In the next edition of the 8 part “Risks and Rewards” series, we will discuss how drones can give you high quality information that enables you to make important business decisions easier and quicker.
Onwards and upwards!
Greg is Founder and Managing Director of Drone Ranger Australia Pty Ltd, a drone consulting firm assisting Clients to integrate the innovative technology into existing business operations.