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Introduction to Drone Aerial imaging for Mapping, Survey and Photogrammetry.

My personal review of the Introduction to drone aerial imaging for mapping course held by ThinkWhere and presented by Andy Carman.

Introduction to Drone Aerial imaging for Mapping, Survey and Photogrammetry.
Overall Ranking: 10/10
Price: £595
Owner: Andy Carman
Websites: &


If you are considering adding various services to compliment your drone operations aerial mapping is probably very high on your list. I was in the same situation and discovered Andy’s course its one I would highly recommend the valuable experience I gained over the 2 days is second to none. I personally found you can teach yourself so much from the internet, and attending various webinars but then I hit a bump in the road. This is where Andy comes in, as I found out what I had read and understood previously was fine but I didn’t have the basics entirely sussed therefore didn’t completely understand certain aspects therefore I didn’t entirely know what I could and couldn’t output for clients. Andy’s course pointed me in the right direction without even having to ask the questions I had at the ready. It is laid out in a nice systematic way and after the two day course was complete I now feel more confident than ever to approach clients and discuss the data they may need provided. I also know the limitations for what can and cannot be done with certain sensors(camera’s) in certain situations.


The major benefit in attending this course will not only allow you to verify the data you acquire confidently it will allow you to pass on your Newly gained knowledge to potential client and give you confidence to deliver a final product that will be more than satisfactory.


This course is designed and suited for anyone with an interest in drone mapping and wants to further their knowledge.


The training material is presented and delivered via PowerPoint with all slides given to you in a hardback manual, there is also very VERY handy information passed digitally(this you will have to go on the course to find out more about and worth its weight in gold. You can follow along and take notes and you keep the manual when completed.

The manual layout and the way it is presented flows well and is easy to follow.

You will complete and run through a complete example and working project to make sure you have grasped the concepts and what you would need to go on to do confidently,


Both Andy and ThinkWhere where more than accommodating and helpful throughout the course providing adequate snacks and refreshments throughout. Andy provides access to his private facebook group after the course and its a great way to build your knowledge and ask and future questions you may have.


I found the price to be very fair and thought I received great value for money. Andy was more than happy to answer an other questions I had after the class was finished for the day.


One thing that become very apparent is drone inspections and mapping overlap, as I found out it all comes down to the sensor and a little bit of maths and with the right set up you can identify something as small as a fixing (screwhead), this may have a head less than 1cm. This is also critical when mapping and setting up your GCPS as you want to make sure you can identify the very centre of your marker again this will be tiny, not only that you want to make sure you can see the important points on the ground your client is interested in, like I mention before it’s all about some simple maths but it only became simple and clear once I had been on the ARC aerial image mapping course.

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DroneDeploy – My Review

drone deploy - my review

Overall Ranking: 8-10
Price: FreeTrial & Subscription
Co-Founders: Jono Millin, Michael Winn, Nicholas Pilkington

Drone Deploy is an app that allows turns your drone into a 3d modelling, mapping agricultural scanning machine. It has been developed in LA but over the last couple of years has gained serious momentum. What it can do is brilliant and even more so that when you set up what you want to do. It can be programmed so the drone will take off, fly the required path to acquire the data and land autonomously. From 2013 to 2018 drone deploy has raised $56 Million in funding the most recent being 25 million from 6 investors: Scale Venture Partners, AngelPad, Emergence Capital Partners, AirTree Ventures, Invenergy Future Fund & Uncork Capital.

Their aim with the newly acquired funding is “expanding their ecosystem of over 80 platform apps and integrations, and accelerating a series of industry-focused solutions,” says a company release.

DroneDeploy App Market
DroneDeploy app market has allowed them to partner with many products and services and these are now available to today drone market. The app market has over 80 apps available paid & free which allows data to be used / transferred easily between them.
The apps they have available help to produce the complete the commercial drone flight work flow smooth and efficient:
Verifly – Insurance provider to ensure you’re covered when you fly.
Airmap – Airspace awareness so you understand the airspace you’re operating in.
Dronebase – A go to app to link to the customer to the provider.
AutoDesk – A desktop solution to further edit and enhance your data.
Skyward – Export your flight logs and keep your log book up-to-date.
PDF Annotation Report – Create and produce annotated pictures to include in your PDF Reports.
SidebySide – Compare present and previously created maps side by side to help highlight improvements or changes.
Sketch fab – this app allows you to view your 3D models and images.
White Clouds – Turn your 3D images into 3D printed models.

Who is it for?
The DroneDeploy app is aimed at small to large commercial pilot operations; it can be used in house by companies or small service providers. It has proven by to be a real game changer and turns what was once seen as a toy into a great tool. I have personally used the app and found it very easy to use.

My personal Review of DroneDeploy
You can try the software for free, so get out and start madding maps playing with the autonomous flying modes and see what great fun you can have. It can be scary at first watching your drone fly off into the distance but mine did return and I managed to get some nice map overlays.  Be very careful of your surroundings and watch for any telephone wires and power cables etc, even though some drone have sensing capabilities these can be missed by the drone.

Real Time Drone Mapping
A new feature drone deploy offer to assist in speed and delivery methods, no need to down load from SD card to upload and wait on processing, your clients have the opportunity to view

They offer great online tech support and help, you can contact them almost 24/7 and they will endeavour to get back to you as soon as humanly possible. They provide the user with video tutorials and reading materials as well as online webinars from industry professions to help you understand what they want and what you can provide them. This is all great information assisting you with that sales pitch to new clients.


  • Free 14 day trail– get out ther and get flying in 14 days i had everything I needed practiced from setting up a mission on my computer, or getting to location planning the flight and off it goes automated and handsfree. I sat back and watched it carry out the flightpath.
  • $83Pro membership – Monthly
  • $243 Business membership – Monthly
  • Custom pricing – available for enterprise members.

Final Opinion

Overall I found Drone Deploy quite easy to use and the app and computer interface is great. The processing time of small projects was quick and with the new app market viewing your images or transferring the data is pretty seamless.

Drone Deploy give you a great trial period so do not hesitate to miss the opportunity to at least give it a try. See what it’s like, get in the valuable practice you can save your work and show it to building contractors, farmers, groundwork firms. You are offering a valuable asset a view of their work sight they probably could not see otherwise.

You really get the feeling DroneDeploy want all of it users to succeed, there is still the personal start-up company feel none of that corporate bull you may have to deal with from other set-ups.

Disclaimer and Advice: If you are a small drone service provider I would recommend you do not advertise your services as a surveyor or crop survey expert remember these services often require licenses/qualifications and certification. With drone deploy you can offer great services but be truthful and do not claim to be something you are not. You could team up with the professions, you have spent time & money to become a qualified drone pilot so you can bring something to the table they cannot. Read more about Drone Mapping

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DJI & FLIR Thermography

What is thermographic imaging?

Using a sensor developed to measure infra-red light from an object to indicate changes in temperature. Red, Green and Blue are the three primary colors detected in commonly used RBG camera sensors.

Colour, frequency & wavelength.

  • Red, 400–484 THz, 620–750 nm
  • Blue, 606–668 THz, 450–495 nm
  • Green, 526–606 THz, 495–570 nm

Infra means below or under so infra-red (IR) is before red in the colour spectrum, infrared spectrum is from: Frequency 430 THz – 300 GHz & Wavelength 700 nm to 1 millimeter

This also means at the lower end of the scale it does not fall on the spectrum of visible light which is: Frequency about 430–770 THz & Wavelengths from about 390 to 700 nm. The infra-red spectrum can be further broken up to Near, Mid and Far. Near being the closest to the visible light and far the other end of the scale.

Because thermal imaging sensors can detect heat (electromagnetic radiation EMR is absorbed by and object, the EMR energy is lost by means of heating up that said object) from an object with or without illumination special sensors are developed and used in various applications. The most commonly known is night vision, but in the drone industry its applications are growing:

dji & flir drones & thermal imaging
Dji drone fitted with a ZenmuseXT2


What benefits from thermal imaging?

  • Firefighting
  • Building inspections &Structure inspections
  • Roof inspections & Flat roof inspections (water damage or thermal inefficiencies)
  • Pipeline inspections
  • Photovoltaic Solar energy farms



What is a Thermographer?

A thermographer is someone who is trained to interpret the data captured by thermal imaging cameras. These cameras can provide valuable data other than just pictures but having the correctly trained person to quantify the results is often a must. A Thermographer tends to be trained in the different subjects like infrared physics, heat science, infrared measurement equipment and its applications.

Who supplies the cameras?

FLIR a leading thermal imaging camera manufacturer saw the potential of adding a thermal imaging camera to their product line and marketing at the drone industry right at the beginning with the FLIR Vue, this was a very popular size and shape as often GoPro action cameras were used on the first drones. They then partnered with DJI a leading drone manufacturer and released the DJI Zenmuse XT, this was their first camera with direct fitment and compatibility with the DJI Inspire 1 drone. Now after further development they can offer a variety of sensors include dual models:

  • DJI Zenmuse XT with Thermal by FLIR
  • DJI Zenmuse XT2 with Thermal
  • FLIR Duo
  • FLIR Duo Pro R
  • FLIR Duo R
  • FLIR Vue Pro
  • FLIR Vue Pro R


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Futurephoto & MDB Marine

Futurephoto MDB Marine hi-vis vest drone safety

Futurephoto & MDB-Marine – Futurephoto LTD can work very closely with MDB marine who are a Micro/Mini ROV Service Company combining the two can result in the complete solution providing coverage of Air, land and Sea.

What is an ROV? An ROV is a Remotely Operated Vehicle, an unmanned under water vehicle for which many task can be completed without the need for a diver or dive team, therefore reducing costs and mitigating risk to personnel. The ROV is more often than not connected to the surface/vessel via an umbilical which will terminate at the main control station or Power cabin.

Most vessels involved in any Subsea work or intervention will have two work class ROV’s located on the port and starboard of the vessel. The equipment required for operations includes: A-Frame to lift on/off the vessel, a TMS Tether Management System , PDU power distribution unit and a Control Cabin not to mention the workshop and maintenance equipment. The work class systems are big bulky and used for heavy-duty operations, the mobilisations can take days and vessel required is large.

Why Use a Micro/Mini ROV?

The Micro ROV is a small compact system consisting of a suit case style control station with built-in power and communications, light and hand manageable tether system and an ROV which can be launched from any small vessel by hand. These systems can be mobilised and deployed within a matter of hours depending on travel etc. The Micro ROV’s have many applications throughout various industries some of which include:

  • Offshore Oil & Gas- With the increasing desire to ensure the safety of our people and environment, routine inspections of the infrastructure used in the drilling, transportation and storage of petrochemicals is crucial in today’s operations. Even when ocean conditions demand a large ROV for inspections, often Micro/Mini ROVs are used to monitor issues and condition of the larger ROVs without the hassle of bringing them to the deck by crane.
  • As found surveys. When you arrive on location for any reason a Micro/Mini ROV can be launched quickly and safely to survey and help determine the forward plan.
  • Underwater blasting – Fitted with blasting equipment supplied from surface the Micro/Mini ROV can stay underwater for hours or days without a break.
  • Temporary metallic surface repairs.
  • Fish farm inspections – look for breaches in cages and nets used in fish farming techniques.
  • Salvage operations
  • Port security inspections – Micro/Mini ROVs have been used to look for contraband on the side of ships entering foreign ports.
  • Environmental studies / Aquaculture infrastructure Inspection & survey – Soil sampling, water sampling, population monitoring, water quality assessment, invasive species monitoring… the list of tasks is almost endless and all of which the ROV can be adapted and modified to undertake these easily and affordably.
  • Water Tank Inspection, (Internal & External) – The mini/micro ROVs can be placed inside a tank and the pilot can perform a complete inspection, with anomalies being investigated more closely.
  • Hull Inspection – As ships travel through open water, ports, channels, and obstacles – scrapes, bangs, and collisions happen.Micro/Mini ROV’s makes it easy to investigate any suspected damage, or perform preventative monitoring.
  • Search and Rescue – When an accidents or incidents happen, Micro/Mini ROVs can help first responders locate and retrieve people and objects from the water.
  • Internal Pipe Inspection – Containment is critical to any operation, and breaches in culverts, drainage pipes, or any flow management systems within any industry can lead to undesired outcomes. Systematic inspection of water management pipelines to find potential issues and repair them before they become major problems.
  • Treasure Hunting and Underwater Archaeology – Ships, Airplanes, Snowmobiles, Autos and more seem to find their way into lakes, rivers and oceans. In complex or deep environments, the Micro/Mini ROVs are used to survey the situation below, and establish a strong plan of action before splashing a diver and expensive equipment. After all who doesn’t love a treasure Hunt!
  • Mine countermeasures – Micro/Mini ROV’s can be used for detection, classification, identification, and prosecution of mines and other explosive devices allowing for a greater level of undersea coverage while minimizing human risk.

Why Use MDB Marine?

MDB Marine is a company consisting of like-minded professionals who thrive on any challenge presented and are constantly seeking to find new, exciting and innovative solutions. With the use of micro ROV’s and their adaptability they have the ability to perform any inspection regime required, especially those in difficult locations. MDB Marine combine various years of experience developed in the harsh offshore environment which means all Inspections, video footage and high-definition stills are a professional result. Visit MDB-Marine for more information!

MDB Marine can supply various Micro/Mini ROV’s these include: Videoray Pro 4, Outland 1000, SAAB Seaeye Falcon and Falcon DR.

MDB Marine - Video ray pro 4 MDB Marine - Outland 1000MDB Marine - SAAB Seaeye FalconMDB Marine - SAAB Seaeye Falcon DR


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Drone Mapping Software & Free Tips

drone deploy map pitfour lake

As my interest in mapping has grown I have put together this post to help me and remind me of certain things I hope it can also help you. Please leave a comment good or bad as this can help me to further develop the skills needed.

When I first left my higher education (college) I was employed by MDL-measurement devices ltd based in Aberdeen they specialised in laser measurement devices and the job involved putting the laser systems together I moved on from that roll to the oil & gas industry to further my career but now I have an interest in drone mapping I have circled round and come back to learn more. MDL have now been acquired by Renishaw.

So when you start your drone business or even before you may see a lot of software online and offline who help you provide 2D and 3D modelling using various methods, sensors (lasers/cameras/Survey grade equipment) and software the information you can provide is helping various Industries:

  1. Construction,
  2. Land Survey,
  3. Real Estate, Inspection,
  4. Agriculture,
  5. Forestry

What they may use the information for includes: site surveys/layouts which can be added to progress reports, inspections of the work site for hazards seen from a bird’s eye view, analytics of the work site by measuring stockpiles, CAD or 3D drawings I am sure the list goes on.

You can use software combined with your drone to provide the relevant information but make I needed to understand what the client wanted and if I felt comfortable to provide it, knowing what to do with these files before handing them over. E.g. a surveyor or architect will most likely require different file types. I have collected my notes to help anyone looking for a basic rundown of the mapping software I found and the acronyms which helped to further understand this subject.

Two Dimensional & Three Dimensional

2D will often refer to a two-dimensional space where there are two axis mathematically represented as the X&Y axis, with regards to geometry this would be the equivalent to a triangle, rectangle, square etc. Basically when a shape is drawn it would be flat on a piece of paper or could be displayed as a map without contour lines.

3D will often refer to a three-dimensional space where there are three axis mathematically represented as the X,Y & Z, with regards to geometry this would be the equivalent of a cube, sphere, pyramid etc.

As I mentioned above you have 2D and 3D, but it gets furthermore complicated when you throw in all the acronyms, phrases and file types. For example the earth its self is a sphere or to make things more complicated and ellipsoid, laying out a sphere or ellipsoid flat on paper as a 2D map will lead to some distortion the outcome is the same when displayed on a computer monitor and will need some sort of map projection correction. The standard for web mapping applications such as Google Maps is (EPSG: 3857) and Google earth uses (EPSG:4326).

Ellipsoid- An ellipsoid is when you take a Sphere (ball) and push down to distort what once was a perfect sphere, there are many different reference ellipsoids, the precise latitude and longitude of a point on the surface of earth is not unique unless the coordinate reference system is known this is especially important for accurate applications, like a Global Positioning System (GPS). ISO standard quote “without the full specification of the coordinate reference system, coordinates (that is latitude and longitude) are ambiguous at best and meaningless at worst”.

EPSG – European Petroleum Survey Group – “The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers” EPSG Geodetic Parameter Dataset is a collection of definitions of coordinate reference systems and coordinate transformations which may be global, regional, national or local in application.” The EPSG Geodetic Parameter Dataset is maintained by the Geodesy Subcommittee of IOGP’s Geomatics Committee. &

Now we know that we have 2 & 3 dimensions, how do we know at what point we are located on the earth’s surface?

Latitude and Longitude are used together to pin point a location on earth’s surface. GPS

World Geodetic System– Is a standard used by GPS and it comprises of:

  1. Geographic coordinate system – defines three-dimensional coordinates based on the Earth’s surface e.g. Latitude, longitude and elevation.
  2. Spheroid reference – Datum (WGS84)
  3. Geoid – Involves the use of earths gravitational force and would be better to read on reference:

Global Positioning System – Originally created for use by the American military, the system comprises of roughly 30 satellites orbiting earth if your GPS receiver makes contact with a minimum of three through Trilateration your position will be known. Other countries systems include Russia’s (GLONASS), European Union Galileo positioning system (GNSS) , China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and India’s (NAVIC).  Most drones are fitted with GPS, but extra systems have been developed to improve your accuracy when mapping.

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) – receivers use the GPS, GLONASS, Galileo or BeiDou system and survey grade receivers can be used to position GCPs.

NOTE: As I am not a surveyor and in no way advertise I am I thought it best to have a better understanding to at least be able to understand what information they may require from my drone data.E.g. if you provide a map to the owner of the land, they may just want a layout so placement of houses etc can be decided. But imagine the information is passed to a developer/architect who starts to plan more detailed drawings based on your map (contours etc) he then hires a surveyor to quantify your results only to find the original map is inaccurate, this is passed to the land owner who is now upset as he thinks what you have provided is unprofessional and inaccurate waste of time and money. Questions you could be asked like was GCP’s used? What RTK sensor was fitted to the drone or was it PPK? Not great for business!

Adding Accuracy to your Map

RTK Real Time Kinematic –RTK positioning uses a base station placed at a known point (bench mark) and points are then taken with reference the base station. This may be used to quantify your GCP’s for relative accuracy; absolute accuracy is only as accurate as your base station. RTK receivers on board a drone can mitigate the need for GCPs.

Most drones are fitted with GPS, but extra systems have been developed to improve your accuracy when mapping.DJI D-RTK mappingCheck out the DJI system here D-RTK! 

GCP  Ground control points Large marked targets which can easily be seen from your flight altitude are placed on the ground at strategically known points. These points are precise and the centre point is measured using extremely accurate equipment. These points should be spread out strategically throughout your map, often between 3 to10 points are used.

PPK Post Processed Kinetic – Similar to RTK but the positioning data is from the drone and base station are combined after the flight, the benefits being no loss of data link out in the field due to communication issue’s allowing the drone to fly further from the base station. Data can be processed multiple times to give more comprehensive results.

Relative Accuracy – Two points on you map can be measure via software and these will be accurate to the physical points measured.

Absolute Accuracy – A point is taken from your map and correlated against a point in the real world, the size and shape of objects will also be correct for absolute accuracy. Very important when overlaying your geo-referenced map onto a site plan.

Output files and storage Databases

GIS  Geographic Information system – This is another hugely complicated subject and something you could study for a few years but from what I can understand what you need to know is that this is a computer system which holds/stores, retrieves,  checks, manages and displays the data relating to the earth’s surface and various free software options exist. GIS systems tend to encode the raster pixels with pixel locations.

GeoTag Before your image can be overlaid on the likes of google maps your camera should be able to perform Geotagging to the photographs metadata so your images are Georeferenced on a map the reason for this is so the software knows at what point in the world they relate too. This is normally done by adding the GPS- global positioning system points to the metadata it is not seen in the picture itself but instead in the .EXIF or. xmp file. Output picture files include .jpeg .TIFF .RAW.

Photogrammetry involves taking measurements from photos and is as old as photography itself.

Orthomosaic or Ortho – This tends to mean a lot of pictures that have been stitched together and “orthorectified” and overlayed on a map to produce a very detailed picture which can be referenced for true distances as lens distortion, camera tilt and topographic relief have been removed.This is a map I created and overlayed onto an image taken from google earth, you can clearly see the difference in detail between the old satellite image and the newly created image. Output files include GeoTIFF, KML file, Google Maps HTML file

map overlay fetterangus google maps

KML Keyhole markup language Files – based on XML standard. Tags are associated inside the file allowing the file to pinpoint locations or overlay images on Google Earth a great way to provide a more detailed image compared to the satellite image provided by Google.

Point Cloud – Can be collected using a laser scanner or converted from photographs (photogrammetry). The point is located in a space and is taken from on a physical object. Many points together will produce 3D representations (X, Y&Z) of the physical object. These can then be edited and computer generated or even 3D printed. Output files include.las, .laz, .xtz .ply (Auto desk.)

3D model – is a model from which a physical object is converted into a mathematical representation, this is done via special computer software. Output files include .OBJ .3DS .STL .FBX .DAE

3D Mesh – this is a textured representation of a model that can be overlaid to a point cloud, it includes the verticals, edges and faces.

3D video animation – Once the 3D model has been created you create walk or fly throughs of your 3D animations to better display and inform. Output files include .mp4 .mkv .avi

Laser Scanning or LIDAR Is using laser beams in a controlled manor to take distance measurements from various angles and combing them to create a 3D model.  So when do you choose LIDAR or Photogrammetry? Price and accuracy often have a huge part to play and also who is going to interpret the data. Engineers may lean more towards the LIDAR where as a site manager or customer might prefer the photogrammetry as the pictures are a lot easier to understand. As time progresses drones are looking to combine sensors and save on multiple flights and time.

Topographical – Topography is the study of the shape and features of the surface of the Earth, essentially “getting the lay of the land”, the topography of an area could refer to the surface shapes and features themselves, or a description especially their depiction in maps (contour lines). Detailed information about terrain and surface features like streams, rivers, forests etc is essential for the planning and construction of many projects.

Contour lines – Lines joined together to indicate terrain at the same level. Output files include shp .pdf .dxf

Raster & Vector Image filesCan be confusing but as I use these software packages I tend to relate best and remember Photoshop or GIMP edits raster images and InkScape edits vector images. But in mapping terms that’s not much use,
Vector = Points, Lines and Areas
Raster = Made up of pixels (grid cell) normally red, green or blue in colour. Each pixel has its own value e.g. a certain height or position.

BIM / Building information modelling/Model   is a digital file which represents an actual physical place and is created to help from the construction to delivery phase of various construction projects A BIM tends to include more than just a Length, Width & Height (3D) drawing it can include the time, cost, geographical data etc. The aim of a BIM file is to be handed over at each phase of a project from design, manufacture and operations/maintenance. Each phase would have specific data added and only one large file worked on to stop lost data throughout the stages. Output files include .IFC .DXF .RVT .DWG .NWD

The regulation/Specification for BIM is: PAS-1192-2-2013 (Incorporating corrigendum No1)

Digital Surface Model (DSM) – a model of the area mapped without colour information. Output files include grid DSM & raster DSM

Digital Terrain Model (DTM) – a digital terrain model is similar to the digital surface model but only as the name suggests terrain e.g. buildings filtered out. Output files include DTM, raster DTM.

Here is another map that was produced with 70 images stitched together using drone deploy, the flight was also controlled using their app.

drone deploy map pitfour lake

Drone mapping software & applications

  1. Drone deploy – The reason I mention them first is they really hit the market about the time I started my own business and provide free webinars to sign up for which was great for learning more about mapping and why it could help so many industries.
  2. Pix4D – The leader and probably one of the mostly used software/app. (Quite expensive)
  3. Raptor Maps
  4. Precision Hawk’s Precision Mapper
  5. 3D Robotics
  6. SkyCatch
  7. Sense Fly
  8. Drofika
  9. WebODM
  10. Agisoft
  11. Maps Made Easy- offer a pay as you map service which is very handy if you want to offer this as a service but do not have a regular need.
  12. Scopito
  13. Auto desk ReCap pro is a photo to Point-Cloud

Final Thought: Most of the apps allow the drone flight to be autonomous which can be very scary the first time you plan your flight and watch the drone fly off into the distance. Be very wary of your surroundings and complete a very detailed sight survey watch out for that telephone wire and always keep your drone in view. I am sure the software will also continue to improve and help keep commercial drone pilots in touch with the industries, who will require the need for the information. I have played around with two drone deploy more than any of the others it is a paid services but they do offer a free trial. They can benefit the smaller businesses as they offer the opportunity to have projects completed via the cloud saving investment in large amounts of computing power they would otherwise need. Read My review of DroneDeploy.

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Police drone rescue

police drone rescue image Lincolnshire

I find this latest article by the BBC to be very relevant to my drone blog and I think it proves the police are using the latest technologies to their advantage. It is also a great example of how drones can be used quickly and efficiently to perform search and rescue operations while reducing costs compared to what would have been a helicopter operation only a few years ago.

Police carry out a successful search for a missing man who was suffering of hypothermia in the freezing temperatures on Sunday the 25 of February 2018 in the early hours of the morning. They used a special imaging camera to hunt for the man’s heat signature and he is located by the police in Lincolnshire.

I am unsure of the drone model or type of camera they used, but it is a great result for all involved.

Note: You can view the video footage below captured by the drone and read the BBC News article.

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Drone safety tips for your business

Futurephoto MDB Marine hi-vis vest drone safety

Futurephoto hi-vis vest drone safety

Safety is one of the most important things not only to stop people from getting hurt but to manage a good reputation. A compromise in safety can lead to injury, damage and loss of reputation which a small drone business or any business for that matter cannot afford. Many industry’s adopt a safety culture where there minimum standards can be developed. As a minimum the drone industry the drone code should be followed. As the industry has grown it is obvious people take silly risks to get that one video or picture, these risks put other people’s life’s in danger especially when flown near passenger aircraft. This can be done intentionally or when he rules to in place to follow and respect rules are unknown. When a consumer purchases a drone for the first they can be nervous and hesitant with their drone to protect and not damage it, but as like with everyday life when you become confident you start to push the boundaries, in the drones case flying to its maximum distance and height using only your tablet or phone to view, this can cause problems as now you no longer have VLOS or visual line of sight and unaware of your surroundings only to find an electricity wire will bring a quick end to your drone. Wind can be another fact when pushing the limits you may find the wind speed further away or between buildings soon take hold or your drone and suddenly you have a fly away where the drone may end up.

Below are some Drone Safety Tips:

  • Carry out a pre-site survey/ risk assessment
  • Check your airspace
  • Check for NOTAMs on the day of mission/flight
  • Make sure everything is updated and fully charged (Tablet/computer/Controller)
  • Make sure you have the correct insurance
  • Barrier off your take-off and landing zone
  • Use a fully charged battery before every flight, Check your home point is updated and calibrate your drone at each location
  • Display your signs, having a second person to explain the task and watch the barriered area can be advantageous.
  • Maintain the correct distance from people and structures
  • Always maintain Visual line of sight, watching the display can distract you from and obvious collision.

Disclaimer: These are some personal Drone Safety Tips i can offer but as always it is up to you to make sure you are

following the correct practices and laws.

When training for your  permission for commercial operations you will be shown the correct way to plan and risk asses your jobs and evaluate all the information to make the educated decision if the job is safe to carry out. The minimum equipment you require will be documented within your operations manual.

  • Hi-Vis Vests
  • Hard Hat
  • Safety Glasses
  • Cut resistant gloves
  • LiPo Bags
  • Take-Off mat
  • Fire Blanket/Fire Extinguisher for electronic equipment
  • Barrier tape
  • Signs
  • Cones Pop up one’s are a popular choice
  • First Aid Kit

Other Safety Equipment has been designed to enhance the safety culture for the drone industry, this may also assist when applying for exemptions as certain requirements from clients maybe risk assessed as too dangerous without taking the extra precautions. Examples of this equipment could be:

  • Drone Parachute – One of the first ideas you may come up with would be a parachute and there is a few providers out there, Mars Parachute’s probably being one of the most popular. You could also try ParaZero and their SafeAir system. Both of these companies offer a solution for most if not all types of drones on the market.
  • Drone Safety Tether- This allows your drone to be tethered to a ground control unit which can provide power to the drone and allows the drone to hold its position in very strong winds. Drone aviation corp provide specifically designed tether drones and also have a tether system called Fuse


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Fraserburgh golf club video

Fraserburgh golf course 6th hole picture

Futurephoto and MDB marine had an opportunity to do some drone filming on the Fraserburgh golf course. This was an opportunity to record each individual hole over the 18 hole golf course which is the 7th oldest in the world and 5th oldest in Scotland. The video was taken over 3 days and edited to 1 hour worth of viewing. I hope this video can help any golfer looking to visit Fraserburgh golf club a different view of the Corbie hill golf course and help with those tricky shots.

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Stunning drone light shows

Light shows are nothing new and have been used to create great visual effects for years, but drones are now muscling in on the act with synchronized light shows.

EHang a drone manufacturer put on a display of 1000 GhostDrone 2.0 to mark the Chinese Lateran festival a great show but Intel are leading the way

Intel have now broken their own record at the Korean Winter Olympics with over 1200 drones performing an amazing display and showing the world what their shooting star drones are capable of.

Kicking off the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, viewers from around the globe were treated to a record-breaking light show during the opening ceremony. Intel is providing drone technology at the Olympic Winter Games in South Korea. (Credit: Intel Corporation)


Famous outings for Intels shooting star drones have included the American super bowl, a previous record of 500 drones synchronized outdoor set in Germany and evening displays at Disney  springs, in collaboration with Walt Disney to create an Christmas holiday evening show for guests. Another event performed buy Intel which I could describe as a practice session in January 2018 was above the belagio in Las Vegas where 250 drones flew synchronized together with the fountains making a great start for 2018, but the Olympic opening ceremony has certainly earned them top spot. The hard work and effort Intels engineers and drone team would have put in must have given them a well deserved sense of achievement. The pre-flight paperwork must have been a real headache. A smaller show of the shooting star mini’s broke the 100 indoor drone record possibly more difficult due to obstacles tight spaces and the lack of GPS.

The Intel Shooting Star Mini drone is the company’s first drone designed and built to enable indoor light show experiences. It is designed with a super-lightweight structure and propeller guards for safety. Its light source can create more than 4 billion color combinations designed for visually stunning aerial displays. (Credit: Intel Corporation)



Shooting Star drones. Intel is providing drone technology at the Olympic Winter Games in South Korea. (Credit: Intel Corporation)


The Work Horse – Intels Falcon 8+

But do not be fooled by Intels shooting star drones these guys have a serious work side as well and produce the Intel Falcon 8+ these are advanced commercially used drones with redundancy features and are used by CyberHawk a leader in commercial drone operations



The Intel Falcon 8+ System, an advanced drone with full electronic system redundancy, is outfitted for industrial inspection, surveying and mapping geared toward professionals and experts. (Credit: Intel Corporation)